Flying Cars – Reserve One Now!
October 21, 2015 will forever be synonymous with flying cars, thanks to the film Back to the Future, where Marty McFly and Doc Brown time travel (via flying car) into what is now our present day, claiming “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
A lot of the film’s predictions of 2015 came true. Flying cars, however, was not one of them. But that doesn’t mean flying cars are an impossibility. In fact, thanks to a few innovative minds from the U.S. to Slovakia, the flying car may become a reality before the long-awaited hover board.
Terrafugia (a name derived from the Latin phrase for “To escape the earth”) is a Massachusetts-based firm whose TF–X 4-seat hybrid car promises to offer true door-to-door transportation. With a design and function that mimics both the famed DeLorean, as well as a Transformer, the TF–X morphs from car to airplane (and back again) within seconds.
Could this be the answer to mankind’s quest for a flying car, which has been around since the early 20th century? Possibly, but even Terrafugia Founder and CEO/CTO Carl Dietrich admits the first working prototype is at least a decade away. That doesn’t even factor in all of the legal and regulatory hurdles that will have to be addressed if/when this car truly takes flight.
For example, will all drivers need a pilot’s license, or will there be some type of classified license like one has for driving a truck or riding a motorcycle? And what about traffic flow? With our current, terrestrial mode of transportation, we have clear roads that tell us where we can – and can’t go. Life’s a bit more open-spaced up in the sky. Who’ll be in charge of establishing car-friendly routes, and how will drivers know they’re obeying the rules of the … sky?
Will there be speeding limits? Assuming stopping in mid-air isn’t possible, what will replace stop signs and traffic lights?
The questions seem endless, but that’s not stopping the innovative drive of Dietrich and others. Terrafugia isn’t the only potential flying car we may see in our lifetime. Slovakia-based AeroMobil has their own working prototype, dubbed the AeroMobil 3.0. It boasts a top speed of 100 mph (vs. Terrafugia’s 200 mph cruise speed) and a flight range of 545 miles (vs. Terrafugia’s 500-mile range).
Yet the company suffered a setback when their prototype crashed on a test flight. The pilot survived; however, this goes to show that we’re still some ways away from flying cars becoming as accepted as, say, electric cars.
But with vertical takeoff capabilities (like a helicopter, meaning no need for runways), highway capability, and the ability to accommodate up to 4 passengers, the TF–X seems like a real, and valid possibility for humans to get closer to personal flight.
Of course, at an estimated cost of $299,000 (not including any impending pilot licensing fees), not everyone will get the chance to fly like a bird anytime soon.
*Photos provided by and credited to Terrafugia Inc.