The film Blade Runner presented a techno-world of androids and flying cars. How much of that imagined future of the film exists in the present, if you may ask?
Lo and behold, you’ll be able to pre-order one of the world’s first flying cars from next month.
Yes, that means you are getting close at soaring around the skies in a two-seat “roadable” aircraft that can switch between driving and flying modes in less than a minute.
They are manufactured by Terrafugia, owned by the parent company of Volvo, and it’s called the Transition. It can fly for up to 400 miles (640 km) and can travel at a speed of up to 100 mph (160 kmh).
There’s no pricing information available yet, but the company says it should be similar to a luxury passenger car.
Chinese news agency Xinhua reported earlier this week that Terrafugia expected to open pre-orders by October. So what can we expect from it?
On the road, it is powered by a hybrid electric motor and has all of the normal things you’d expect from a car. That being said, what it provides that regular vehicles do not are rear-view cameras, a parachute system, fold-out wings, and a “boost” mode offering a brief burst of extra power while flying. Recent improvements also include upgraded seats, more luggage storage, improved seat belts, and airbags.
However, potential buyers will need both a driving license and be certified to fly a light aircraft.
With that in mind, the company believes Transition could be a useful vehicle for pilots who can fly it to a small airport, simply fold the wings in, and drive straight home.
It can fly to a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet and weighs roughly 1,300 pounds with fixed landing gear.
After this, there are plans for the TF-X, a four-door version that will be computer-controlled in which passengers can type in a destination before taking off.
The company said: “The TF-X won’t require an airport for take-off and landing, and it will drive on all roads and highways – providing the convenience of true door-to-door transportation.”
The company’s CEO, Chris Japan, said in July: “Developing this new technology has allowed us to test several different mechanisms and generate process improvements along the way.
“We are at a 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.”