Long before the futuristic vision of ‘Orbit City’ was unveiled in the Jetsons, flying cars captivated the world’s imagination.
But so far, the goal of creating a working flying car has proved elusive.
Now, one company claims it is one step closer to making the technology a reality after releasing new designs for its revolutionary vehicle known as the TF-X.
Terrafugia’s concept vehicle – which doubles as both a plane and a land car – has fold-out wings with twin electric motors attached to each end.
These motors allow the TF-X to move from a vertical to a horizontal position, and will be powered by a 300 hp engine.
According to the company, thrust will be provided by a ducted fan, and the vehicle will have a cruising speed of 200 mph (322 km/h), along with a 500 mile (805 km) flight range.
The company says its aim is to provide ‘true door-to-door transportation,’ with the vehicle capable of being parked in a home garage like an ordinary car.
The planned four-person TF-X will be semi-autonmous and use computer-controls so that passengers can simply type in a destination before taking off.
‘The TF-X operator will have final say over whether an approved landing zone is actually a safe place in which to land, and they may abort the landing attempt at any time,’ the company says.
The latest model was unveiled at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Terrafugia also provided a new animation showing how the T-FX would operate. To take-off, the video shows how electric-powered propellers tilt 90 degrees.
As the vehicle moves to forward flight, the propellers spin around until they are parallel with the the vehicle’s body.
When the ducted fan activates, the propellers stop rotating and fold back along the nacelles.
The one-tenth scale model will be tested at the Wright Brothers wind tunnel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The trials will test everything from the drag, lift and thrust forces of the model.
However, Massachusetts-based firm Terrafugia says the TF-X will still be another 8-12 years in development.
In February, the same company unveiled a flying car known as the Transition, which has space for two passengers.
It is expected to cost around £183,000 ($279),000 when it goes on sale, possibly as soon as later this year.
Owners will need a pilot and a driver’s licence to operate the road-legal airplane, in addition to 20 hours of flying time under their belt.
But fulfill those requirements, and you’ll be able to head down a motorway to an airport, and then take off on a conventional runway.
The company hopes the Transition will be able to fly nonstop for 500 miles (800km).
The founding team behind the creation are Carl Dietrich, Samuel Schweighart, Anna Mracek Dietrich, Alex Min – friends from University, and they call the Transition ‘our vision for the future of personal transportation.’
They said: ‘We have been dreaming about flying cars since the turn of the 20th century. The Transition street-legal airplane is the first step on the road to the practical flying car.
‘We’re starting with proven technology and our product road map is designed to make personal aviation progressively safer and more accessible to a broader segment of the population.’