Terrafugia’s TF-X: Say Hello to the First Ever Self-Flying Car!

My following article below was originally published by SERIOUS WONDER

(PHOTO CREDIT: TERRAFUGIA)
(PHOTO CREDIT: TERRAFUGIA)

The year is 2015 and people are still complaining about their flying cars. We were told we’d have flying cars by 2015 on Back to the Future Part II, so where are they today? Well, we already have flying cars, thanks to AeroMobil. But like most technological innovations, the requirement of friendly competition is almost always a necessity. Say hello to Terrafugia – the one and only company, thus far, promising us self-flying cars!

Like the AeroMobil, Terrafugia’s Transition model transitioned from car to mini-plane, and then took off like most planes do. This was a problem, given the limited availability in runways for all drivers. As a result, Terrafugia began development of their newly designed TF-X model – the self-flying car of the future!

“TF-X™ is the practical realization of the dream of countless visions of the future; it is designed to be the flying car for all of us. In order to achieve this long-sought-after vision, Terrafugia will focus the TF-X™ program with clear goals that enhance the safety, simplicity, and convenience of personal transportation. We believe these goals are achievable today.”

– Terrafugia

The TF-X is a fully electric vehicle that’ll be able traverse 500 miles per charge. You’ll be able to choose between “manual” or “automatic” in both flying and landing. Unfortunately, Terrafugia has stated the development of the TF-X will take anywhere from 8-12 years, but that early access will be available long before that time.

(PHOTO CREDIT: TERRAFUGIA)
(PHOTO CREDIT: TERRAFUGIA)

Differentiating itself from the Transition model, the TF-X uses twin 600 hp electric motor pods to begin its ascent, with each pod attaining 16 different motors as a safety precaution. Once you’re lifted into the air the motor pods begin folding forward as the 300 hp electric engine starts working with the twin motors. As you reach cruise, the propellers begin folding internally, set to charge by the engine itself.

As a self-flying car, all you have to do is tell the car where you want to go and liftoff. To ensure safety, Terrafugia is making sure that the TF-X avoids other air traffic, bad weather, and restricted airspace. The vehicle will have a full-vehicle backup parachute in case of an emergency. If you, the TF-X operator, declares an emergency, which will automatically notify the authorities, you’ll be able to land on non-approved landing zones. If you ever become unresponsive, the TF-X will then immediately implement an emergency landing at the nearest airport.

Pricing is currently unknown, but Terrafugia is aiming for relative affordability, matching prices with that of high-end luxury vehicles. As it grows in popularity, with an increase in demand, prices will surely fall in tandem.

FUTURE IMPLICATIONS

By the time 2015 rolled in we were already accustomed to self-driving cars. For some of us we were also accustomed to flying cars, thanks to AeroMobil’s willingness to take the first step. Three months in and it would appear that self-flying cars will become the next innovative idea that we all talk about. But what does it mean for future drivers/flyers by the time it officially rolls out into the market in the next decade? Will we begin developing skyways, as seen in the Back to the Future film?

Something else to think about: how will we be able to provide safety in our skies when not only self-flying cars are traveling through, but the proliferation of commercial drones are traversing the same air space? However we go about addressing these questions, it would appear that the future of our dreams is well underway!

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