Planes, Trains and Other Automobiles: The Technology of Tomorrow Has Been Here Since Yesterday

ou know those funny lists you run into over the Internet describing all sorts of devices and gadgets that should be invented sooner rather than later, as humanity seems to need them on an acute level? There’s no such list that wouldn’t talk about teleportation or at least the invention of flying cars, besides the cure for cancer or a valid vaccine against common flu. Well, those lists can start better do their homework, as the flying car is officially here. Surprised? Why, we should have seen this coming!

Meet the Transition

There are a lot of things available for purchase in this world which look like something we’re used to but in essence are something completely different, with totally different features. Let’s take for instance the e-cig, this revolutionary device that looks like a classic cig in most of the cases and which, however, lacks the properties of a traditional one in the benefit of other perks. If you take a closer look to the blu electronic cigarette, you will see the similarities, only to find out it is a high-tech device with very unique features. Same goes for the robotic cat, which has all the traits of a cat, except it’s not alive, or other mind-blowing inventions. Why the analogy? Because Terrafugia’s Transition flying car looks like a plane with four wheels, more than it looks like a car with wings.

Where does it come from?

Well, apparently it comes from MIT, where else, as they are working and raising money for the project for almost seven years now. Still, this car-plane vehicle wasn’t shown to the public until recently, when it took the tests necessary to pass approval, during the EAA AirVenture show  this year. Did it pass? Imagine it did, since the crazy automobile can drive and fly very easy, folding and unfolding its wings just as you’ve seen in science – fiction movies. They say it has an autonomy of almost 500 miles and can be comfortably cruised in the air at a speed of 107 miles per hour, while reaching a surprising 70 miles per hour speed on the road.

Will we be able to drive it soon?

You should better think about taking your pilot’s license, as you will need it, together with a certified experience of 20 hours of flying, if you ever think of purchasing this vehicle. The average person won’t be able to afford it very soon, as we’re talking sums ranging from half million dollars to a modest $300.000 for the third prototype the builders are thinking about producing. Yes, the investment might pay off, if you think about the hours you will save by not sitting in a traffic jam hating your life, but this concept – vehicle, just like the others before it, will be the new fun toy for the obscenely rich and famous clients for a while.

What about fuel?

This is maybe one of the most important and interesting features of the flying car: it can be fueled with common gasoline you find at every gas station, but if you happen to be concerned about the environment and believe flying cars should help us consume less fuel, the producers also work on a more “classic” flying car concept (if we’re allowed the word association), which involves a hybrid electric tilt-rotor aircraft with vertical take-off and allegedly a lower price. But until then, let’s cheer, as we finally get to live the world of tomorrow, just as sci – fi writers and movie directors dreamt about!