Terrafugia to develop vertical takeoff flying car

The TF-X will build on the company's Transition flying car and will allow drivers to take off and land vertically.

Terrafugia's concept for a VTOL vehicle
Terrafugia is considering developing a vertical takeoff and landing hybrid-electric flying car. Terrafugia
Frustrated commuters may soon get some good news from Terrafugia, the maker of the Transition flying car.

The company on Sunday said it has begun feasibility studies of a four-seat, vertical takeoff and landing plug-in hybrid-electric flying car, the TF-X. The vehicle will "further increase the safety, simplicity, and convenience of personal aviation" by using state-of-the-art intelligent systems and other technology, Terrafugia said.

"This is the right time for us to begin thinking about the future of the company beyond Transition development," Carl Dietrich, Terrafugia's chief executive and chief technology officer, said in a press release. "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."

Terrafugia was founded in Woburn, Mass. by pilot-engineers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The company's entire focus revolves around building practical flying cars. An earlier vehicle, the Transition, currently is undergoing test flights and drive tests to evaluate its durability.

Terrafugia's concept for a VTOL vehicle
Terrafugia

No specific date has been set for certification and initial production of the two-seater aircraft with folding wings, though Terrafugia said it's nearing time for those steps.

Terrafugia noted Sunday that the Transition program serves as a "proof of process" for TF-X development and commercialization. It added that both "could result in significant economic benefits and personal time savings," and conversations with the Federal Aviation Administration about the TF-X concept have shown the agency's "willingness to consider innovative technologies and regulatory solutions that are in the public interest and enhance the level of safety of personal aviation."

About the author

Shara Tibken is a senior writer for CNET focused on Samsung and Apple. She previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. She's a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."

 

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