Five MIT graduates, including Carl Dietrich the CEO, teamed up as pilots and created a start-up company, Terrafugia, in 2006 with an objective of producing a Personal Air Vehicle. They have recently revealed, what the average onlooker may assume to be, a flying car. Its design is actually portrayed as an aircraft with capabilities of driving off the runway and merging onto highway traffic. Given the name “Transition,” this vehicle is able to deploy its wings from street legal to ready for take-off in thirty seconds. I’m sure the button to expands the wings, as if it were a rag top “convertible,” is right beside the gas tank release trigger, which you’ll need when you pull-in to your usual gas station. Terrafugia recommends filling up with ‘super’ but, if you’re on a tight budget, regular will still get you to your next landing strip. Terrafugia states the performance specifications at a range of 490 miles on one tank of 23 gallons of useable fuel, yet claim 35 mpg road travel… The numbers may not match up but they do sound pretty intriguing.
As far as flying cars go, I think the transition fits well into the concepts of many science fiction writers. Even if the Jetsons envisioned a higher pitched vehicle that transforms into a suitcase. The Transition can still travel a person from their Burlington home to their gorgeous Jersey shore getaway without switching vehicles or getting stuck in weekend traffic. Being that this project had only begun in 2006, I assume that there is much room for scientific redesign and technological improvements of this concept. Perhaps a vertical take-off flying car… Either way the Transition is currently estimated a final purchase price somewhere between $200,000 and $250,000. Terrafugia projected to begin low volume production in late 2011 so get your refundable $10,000 deposits in the mail for your place in line.