Terrafugia develops the first practical flying car
Transition, Terrafugia's street-legal aircraft has accelerated the projection of the first flying car to hit the market in 2019. This aircraft will be followed by a four-seater craft with vertical takeoff and landing version dubbed TF-X.
These plans happen to line up with Uber's plans of ushering a new generation of aerial Uber rides and flying taxis in 2020. The company recently signed a deal to buy approximately 24,000 self-driving Volvos.
Terrafugia was founded by Carl Dietrich in 2006 with a group of MIT graduates. He served as the CEO until Geely Holding bought it this year. Plans are that he will be transitioned to Terrafugia's Chief Technology Officer.
“After working in the helicopter industry for over 30 years, and the aviation industry in China for 17 years, Terrafugia presents a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of a fledgling but enormously exciting industry,” Chris Jaran, former managing director of Bell Helicopter China, said in the Nov.13 press release. “The support that Geely has pledged to make Terrafugia’s vision of a flying car a commercial reality is unprecedented, and I assume this role with full of confidence for the future, with our first priority being the expansion of the company’s R&D capabilities.”
Chris Jaran was named the new Chief Executive at Terrafugia.
The first Terrafugia prototype has two seats and folding wings. It also has an FAA exemption that allows the aircraft to add folding wings and other features that will enable it to travel by road to an airport and take off to fly like a light sports aircraft.
The announcement on Nov.13 said that Terrafugia is planning to release the first Transition in 2019. The next model will hit the market in 2012, which is the same year in which Uber plans to expand its flying taxis service to multiple cities.
It is important to note here that the airborne fleet of taxis will require trained human pilots for many years to come.