The hybrid electric flying car that's been a dream for so long is finally taking shape. Terrafugia announced that they expect to have a prototype for their computer-controlled electric aerial vehicle called the TF-X released within two years.
The company says a full-sized prototype of the TF-X will be ready by 2018, the Daily Mail reported. No price has been announced, a company spokesperson told DNEWS in an email, but they expect the vehicle to go into production within 8 to 12 years.
10 Wild Ways To Travel In The Future
If that seems like forever, consider the timeline for Terrafugia's first vehicle, a two-seater that runs on regular gasoline called the Transition. As Engadget's Richard Lawler pointed out last year, the second-generation Transition prototype logged more than 100 hours in the air, but key hurdles remain. This latest version still needs meet automotive crash safety standards, and meet the FAA's weight limit for Light-Sport Aircraft.
The TF-X design is even more complex. The idea is for the four-seat hybrid electric vehicle to have computer-controlled flight. After driving the TF-X out of the garage, twin propellers unfold and a megawatt of power lifts the vehicle up.
A 300-horsepower engine will power cruise and recharge the vehicle's batteries, giving the hybrid electric vehicle a nonstop 500-mile flight range. The goal is to have cruising speeds around 200 miles per hour. It can also be recharged electrically on the ground.
Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle Has Wings
All the automation has to be foolproof, too. The company wants operating a TF-X to be safer than driving a regular car. In the air, the vehicle should automatically avoid other aircraft, bad weather, and restricted airspace. Operators can either use manual or automatic control to fly. And an emergency landing sequence would go into effect if the operator becomes unresponsive.
The company said it's planning to conduct testing on a one-tenth size model in the Wright Brothers wind tunnel at MIT. While we wait for the full-sized prototype, here's what the TF-X could look like: