Terrafugia's New Self-Flying Car

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Automotive/aircraft company follows up on its Transition vehicle with the TF-X, incorporating autonomous Vertical Take-Off and Landing capabilities.

If you've ever heard of Terrafugia, you know the drill: while the notion of a flying car may seem like something out of "The Jetsons", this Massachusetts-based company is committed to making it a reality. After years of preparation, Terrafugia revealed a working prototype for its Transition at the New York Auto Show last year and has already taken a hundred orders. But while that version is still in development, Terrafugia is already working on a different version altogether.

Instead of taking off like a conventional airplane on a runway – the Transition requires 1,700 feet of it to get airborne – the TF-X design calls for a VTOL arrangement similar to a V-22 Osprey. It's conceptually powered by a plug-in hybrid propulsion system that pairs a 300-horsepower main engine with two 600hp electric motors to drive the outboard propellers. The TF-X even incorporates a comprehensive auto-pilot system that takes off, flies and lands all on its own. It's still a good ten years away from production, but Terrafugia seems to think it's a realistic proposition.

The company will continue developing both versions until they're ready for customers. No pricing details were revealed for the TF-X just yet, but the Transition carries a sticker of $279,000, so expect the TF-X to cost even more if and when it reaches production.

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