What do films like "The Jetsons," "Blade Runner," "Minority Report" and "Back To The Future Part Two?" all have in common? Well, aside from being known for their iconic characters, these sci-fi stalwarts also bring the dream of flying cars to the forefront of pop culture's collective consciousness.
Although the flying car is yet to hit the consumer mainstream (read: you can't buy, rent nor drive one yet), pioneering companies are pushing hard to make the dream a reality.
And we might not even wait for long - one flying car model is set to hit the road and the air next year!
As much as we'd like to believe flying cars will be a thing really soon, they won't. It's going to take years before that technology is perfected. Just look at how self-driving cars are moving along. But our cars ARE changing. In the next five years, we can expect them to be connected like never before. What will your new car know about you? Listen to my Komando on Demand podcast for an inside look at your future behind the wheel.
The Terrafugia Transition
After years in development, Terrafugia's Transition flying car will finally go on sale in 2019, as the company announced that the first production vehicles are on their way.
The Transition vehicle is a two-seat car/aircraft that uses a hybrid system - a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) combined with a lithium iron phosphate battery - to propel itself.
According to Terrafugia, the lithium iron phosphate battery has proven to be much safer than other lithium-ion batteries that other electric cars (and cellphones) use.
Aside from the hybrid engine, the production models will also get numerous cosmetic and safety improvements.
Although there's still no indication of its final price, it's probably safe to say that the Transition will be expensive and too pricey for the average consumer.
Fun fact: According to its website, Terrafugia was founded in 2006 by five award-winning MIT graduates, with the mission of "creating practical flying cars that enable a new dimension of personal freedom."
Improved safety features
For extra oomph, the Transition's throttle will also incorporate a "boost" feature that will deliver a burst of extra power while in the air.
It will also get a remodeled interior and an updated safety system including improved seat belts, airbags, and increased visibility with three rearview cameras in drive mode.
For its parachute system (flying cars will definitely need parachutes, right?), Terrafugia is partnering with leading suppliers for its state-of-the-art avionics and parachutes. Dynon, for example, is providing the EFIS (Electrical Flight Information Systems) while BRS is providing a full frame parachute system.
All set for takeoff?
So what hurdles are left for the Transition flying car? Well, since it's a vehicle that's meant for the road and the air, it has to pass both the aviation and automotive safety requirements set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Terrafugia is confident that the newly introduced improvements will enable the Transition to satisfy all these requirements while providing the best flight experience for both pilot and passenger.
“Developing this new technology has allowed us to test several different mechanisms and generate process improvements along the way,” stated Chris Jaran, Terrafugia's CEO. “We are at the critical point where we can implement the best design features based on years of flight and drive testing. This will improve function, safety, and aesthetics for the optimal flying and driving experience.”
So what do you think? Will the Terrafugia's flying car finally earn its wings next year? Are you ready for the Transition? Drop us a comment!
Electric vs. gas-powered cars - Which is really cheaper to own?
You might think that avoiding the gas station would lead to saving money along with the environment, but is that really the case? Add that to the difference in price between an electric car and a more fuel-efficient standard vehicle and is it worth it? Let's take a look in this tip.