Forget instant global communication, video chatting, computers the size of watches, artificial intelligence that can beat humans at complex strategy games, self-driving cars and space stations. It isn't really "the future" until we have flying cars.
Unfortunately, making cars fly is easier said than done. If a machine is good in the air, it isn't safe enough on the ground. If it's safe on the ground, it's too heavy to get in the air. There's also the question of how much room it needs to take off, where it can and can't fly and other basics to sort out. However, that hasn't stopped on team.
Despite the challenges, a company called Terrafugia refuses to give up. It's already created one "flying car" called the Terrafugia Transition and even got the government's sign-off in 2014.
Of course, the Transition is more like a plane that drives with folded up wings. You have to take off from a runway and it requires you to have a pilot license with 20 hours of flying time. That's not going to fly with the average driver.
That's why Terrafugia is hard at work on the next concept. It's called the TF-X, and it's more like a helicopter car. Or, if you're familiar with the military's V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, it's similar to that.
The car has wings that swing up, and rotors on each wing that can go from vertical for take-off to horizontal for forward flight. Once horizontal, the rotors fold back and a ducted fan takes over forward propulsion.
Terrafugia says the TF-X will be able to hit 200 mph with a 500-mile flight range carrying four people. It will be able to take off from any spot that provides 50 feet of clearance on any side.
The TF-X will have both manual and automatic modes to make it easier for the average person to use. Its computer will also know where it can and can't legally fly so it keeps users out of trouble.
For power it's a hybrid with a 300 horsepower motor and batteries to drive the motors for the wings. It can recharge the batteries from a power outlet or the gas motor.
A scale model of the TF-X is in testing right now and Terrafugia plans to have a prototype built by 2018. However, the company admits development is going to last for 8 to 12 years. So, you aren't going to have this in your garage quite yet.
We guess the future will just have to wait.