We've been following the progress of Terrafugia, the Massachusetts-based creator of several (prototype) flying cars, for a while, despite the company never having actually released one. But that hasn't stopped the company from "announcing its vision for the future of personal transportation": a plug-in flying car.
Terrafugia's Transition is the company's most famous creation. It's more of a drivable plane than a flying car, really, but it's gotten FAA certification and is just about the closest we've gotten to a flying car so far. The Transition hasn't gotten past the prototype stage, but Terrafugia has chosen to steamroll past that and show off what they think will be coming a generation or two from now: the TF-X.
The TF-X would be a hybrid plug-in electric vehicle, capable of vertical takeoffs like a helicopter, but able to adjust its propellers from an upright position to a horizontal position so it can fly like a plane. The video is oddly specific about specs, considering this thing is completely conceptual, but it claims the vehicle will have automatic takeoffs and landings, and reach speeds of 200mph with a range of 500 miles.
I like the idea of flying cars, I want one, I just don't think it will ever happen to the point where they are commonplace. They would be very cost prohibitive to purchase, maintain and buy fuel for. Then there's insurance - if you think your auto-insurance is expensive, imagine how much it would cost to insure one of these. A flying vehicle would obviously need to be held to a higher standard with regards to maintenance. If your car, pickup whatever is making a funny noise you can kind of ignore it knowing that, worst case scenario, you'll break down and need to get it towed to a garage. If your flying car is starting to act up and you ignore the symptoms, then if the engine quits you crash and die, hopefully not crashing on someone's house and taking them out too. In some states for your car you need to get an inspection sticker once a year, in other states every other year. If we had flying cars there would need to be weekly or monthly inspections.
Someone will call me a naysayer and a party pooper, but being realistic I just don't see this becoming mainstream.
I'm surprised that neither the author nor dukane24 seems to be aware of PAL-V, a prototype flying car which is already being tested. No vertical take-off though, as it is based on gyrocopter technology. On the other hand, because of that it cannot crash on engine fail either as it will just descend gradually.
See it in action here: http://pal-v.com/
Pal-v sounds safer and along the right track. I agree that costing will be a major blocker, but I do think the possibility of plan taxis to start or even rides shares would be pretty awesome. I can see some execs picking up on it so that they can avoid traffic.
Really, a no one sees potential safety problems, hazards? Really?! ROFL....
Alright then, let’s invest 37 billion dollars into this one too. I know a GS worker who will sign off on it as in "working and safe", lol.
I think in order for flying car to come into existence for the common man. It first must be completely automated look at how many horrible drivers are out on the road right now. Constant maintenance would be required all systems should be checked and monitored before take off. I also don't see flying cars coming out abundantly until we have mastered particle physics in such a way to create oh lets say for example stable working fusion drive. Or when anti-gravity can be manufactured easily. Best changes of anti-gravity means CERN keep up the good work.
if the wings provide the lift than it should glide without power.
but the wings would make an awful blind spot.
btw isn't mw energy requirements prohibitive??
That is awesome. Now if they only made a solar energy powered charger that could store a high amount of energy in it, for up to six cars at once, this could be the most affordable vehicle in the world. Although the start up costs for something like that would be immense.
I read about the flying car of the future in Popular Science 50 years ago. I suspect the idea will be around for another 50. Back in the 60's when private planes were sub 10k, flying you own plane was no big deal. Regulations and the hysteria over terrorist has put the final nail in the coffin for flying cars. The best scientist in this country probably work for the government. Their prime directive is to find better ways to take lives, not improve them!
I think this is better than Moller's concept( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moller_Skycar ),and probably cheaper.Very original idea,electric power to take off,thereby minimizing noise.
These companies need to realize that when people talk of flying cars they don't want it to look or even function as a car. The closest thing I have seen to having the ability power the "flying car" people imagine is a cyclogyro, like d-dalus. This would allow for both high speed flying and low speed, low altitude hovering.
While I would not question their claim of using 1MW to achieve VTOL operation with a 4-passenger aircraft, since that seems reasonable given the small diameter rotors they are using for lift. But I cannot see how an aircraft that incorporates a system of folding tilt-rotors, a turboshaft engine, a pair of high-power electric propulsion motors, lightweight batteries, a high-power electric generator, and a lightweight drivetrain for road use, could ever be manufactured and sold for a price anyone would be willing to pay.
Lots of fun as a senior project, but it would never succeed as a commercial product.
PAL-V isn't close.
If the fact that this seems to cosmetically be based on Delboy trotters three wheeled Robin Reliant, then we all doomed!