In as little as two years would could witness the advent of flying cars after start-up company Terrafugia was snapped up by Volvo’s parent company earlier this week.
Terrafugia, based in Woburn, Massachusetts, aims to have driverless cars “on the road” as early as 2019.
Although many people still haven’t got their heads around the idea of driverless cars, we could well see flying automobiles cruising over the skies of Leeds and Manchester very soon.
The cash injection will help the company speed up its plans to get its hybrid Transition vehicle to market.
Transition features a two-seat cabin and wings that fold up while the car is on the road.
Terrafugia says that Transition will be able to reach 10,000 feet, or fly for up to 400 miles at a cruise speed of 100 mph. It will cost around £210,000.
Greely, the company that acquired the company, did not state how much it had paid for the tech firm, only that it had paid for it in its entirety.
“This is a tremendously exciting sector and we believe that Terrafugia is ideally positioned to change mobility as we currently understand it and herald the development of a new industry in doing so.
“Our investment in the company reflects our shared belief in their vision and we are committed to extending our full support to Terrafugia, leveraging the synergies provided by our international operations and track record of innovation, to make the flying car a reality.”
Newly appointed Terrafugia CEO Chris Jaran added:
“After working in the helicopter industry for over 30 years, and the aviation industry in China for 17 years, Terrafugia presents a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of a fledgling but enormously exciting industry.”
Terrafugia founder and CTO Carl Dietrich said:
“We started Terrafugia with a vision to change the future of transportation with practical flying cars that enable a new dimension of personal freedom.
“Now as part of Geely Holding Group I am confident that we can reach that vision and subsequent commercial success by utilising the Groups shared global synergy.”
The FAA in the US gave the company an exemption from a special approval, which is usually required for aircraft or craft that can take to the air.
Owners of such a vehicle will be required to get a pilot certificate however. In the US, this takes 20 hours of training to acquire.
At this moment in time, it is not known whether the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority will authorise a Terrafugia vehicle to fly in the sky here in the UK.