Terrafugia to develop four-seat flying car

Company's second flying car project to be designed for vertical takeoffs and landings

The company that built a flying car is working on its next project -- a four-seat, hybrid-electric flying car.

Terrafugia Inc., the developer of the Transition driveable airplane, announced this week that its vision of the future of personal transportation goes beyond its initial flying car. The Woburn, Mass-based company's next project is a multi-seat flying car that takes off and lands vertically, much like a helicopter does.

The new flying car project has been dubbed the TF-X.

"We are passionate about continuing to lead the creation of a flying car industry and are dedicating resources to lay the foundations for our vision of personal transportation," said Carl Dietrich, Terrafugia's CEO and chief technology officer. "Terrafugia's design team is excited to be looking ahead to TF-X development activities as the Transition program shifts from research and development to certification, production, and customer support activities."

With TF-X, Terrafugia, an aerospace company founded by pilots and engineers from MIT, is looking to make flying cars safer, more simple to use and more convenient.

The company did not say when the four-seat flying car might have its first test flight or when it might be ready for the market.

The Transition, the company's first drive-able plane project, completed its first flight in March 2012 at Plattsburgh International Airport in upstate New York. At that time, Terrafugia said it would market the Transition later in 2012 or in early 2013.

Today, the company said it is "nearing production" on the Transition.

The Transition, a two-seat vehicle with foldable wings, falls into the light-sport aircraft category and is expected to take off and land at small, local airports and to drive on virtually any road.

TF-X flying car
Terrafugia is setting its sights on a second flying car -- the TF-X, which is designed to take off and land vertically. (Photo: Terrafugia)

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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