Terrafugia aims to make its TF-X flying machine look as much like a conventional car as possible, if it wants to stand the best chance of success. It’s still some years away from hitting the market, but the company is showing an animated 3D model of it to explain how it will all work.
Basically, it’s going to be a four-wheeled road vehicle which achieves lift using a tiltrotor type system like you’d find on a V-22 Osprey and extra forward thrust using a ducted fan at the back.
The promise is that TF-X will be able to carry four people, feature a hybrid drivetrain and basically be like a car in every way plus also having airborne capabilities; flight range is said to be 500 miles / 804 km.
The company behind it describes it as “a fixed wing street-legal aircraft with electric ground drive and electric power assist on takeoff and landing,” which is “able to recharge its batteries either from its engine or by plugging in to electric car charging stations.”
Flight in the TF-X will be completely autonomous, the driver merely selecting a destination once in the air; it’s also going to be capable of landing itself, although manual control will be available and even necessary in case of harsh weather.
Check it out in the gallery and video below.