Monday, July 8, 2013

Terrafugia Flying Car Company Develops New Concept

By Lee Rannals , 
Terrafugia started developing the world’s first flying car a few years ago, and even though its Transition Street-Legal Airplane isn’t in production yet, it is already developing a new concept.
The company announced this weekend that it has begun studies of a four-seat, vertical takeoff and landing hybrid-electric flying car called the TF-X.
“Incorporating the state-of-the-art in intelligent systems, fly by wire controls, and currently available technology, the TF-X will further increase the level of safety, simplicity, and convenience of personal aviation,” Terrafugia said in arelease announcing the car concept.
Transition Street-Legal Airplane looks more like a plane, but the new TF-X works more like a helicopter with its vertical takeoff and landing. The technology being used is the same kind found in the Marines’ V-22 Osprey.
Terrafugia CEO Carl Dietrich said that even though Transition hasn’t moved into development, this is the right time to start thinking about the future of the company beyond it.
“We are passionate about continuing to lead the creation of a flying car industry and are dedicating resources to lay the foundations for our vision of personal transportation,” Dietrich said.
The company said its design team is excited to be looking ahead to TF-X development activities, including research and development, production, and customer support activities. It said the company has already had preliminary conversations with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) about the TF-X concept.
According to Terrafugia, the FAA has “demonstrated their willingness to consider innovative technologies and regulatory solutions that are in the public interest and enhance the level of safety of personal aviation.”
Terrafugia said it is nearing the production phase of the Transition, which had a test flight at Plattsburgh International Airport in April 2012. The company has more than 100 orders of the $279,000 Transition vehicle.
Terrafugia isn’t the only company trying to get the world’s first flying car into production. The Hammerhead Projectannounced a crowdfunding campaign in April this year to try and build a flying car. The project is looking to raise $500,000 for the development of the prototype. According to the company, the vehicle will also be a vertical take-off and landing aircraft.
“For decades people have dreamt about flying cars. Now, technology is finally at a point where we can build one that´s safe and reliable,” said Jeff Case, founder of The Hammerhead Project. “In addition to raising money, I would like to get people excited about the project and flying cars in general. Many people would like to fly effortlessly from point A to B in a personal vehicle.” He believes there are millions of flying car enthusiasts around the world.