Aircraft

Terrafugia unveils new design for TF-X autonomous flying car

Terrafugia unveils new design ...
In cruise mode, the main 300 hp engine of the TF-X provides thrust and charges the batteries
In cruise mode, the main 300 hp engine of the TF-X provides thrust and charges the batteries
View 5 Images
In cruise mode, the main 300 hp engine of the TF-X provides thrust and charges the batteries
1/5
In cruise mode, the main 300 hp engine of the TF-X provides thrust and charges the batteries
The TF-X has a planned range of over 500 mi (805 km)
2/5
The TF-X has a planned range of over 500 mi (805 km)
The TF-X works as a plug-in hybrid on the ground
3/5
The TF-X works as a plug-in hybrid on the ground
The TF-X is designed to drive like a normal car when on the road
4/5
The TF-X is designed to drive like a normal car when on the road
The TF-X is designed to fit inside a single-car garage
5/5
The TF-X is designed to fit inside a single-car garage

Flying-car developer Terrafugia has released new designs for its planned TF-X model. The TF-X is a planned autonomous flying car that was announced back in 2013. The updated design shows a sleeker body shape, a one-tenth scale model of which will be tested in a wind tunnel at MIT.

If flying cars sound a bit far-fetched – never mind ones that fly themselves – then you should bear in mind that, not long after the TF-X was announced, Terrafugia gave the first public flight demonstration of its original flying car model, the Transition. Whereas the Transition requires a runway to take off, however, the TF-X is able to take off and land vertically.

Terrafugia says the aim of its vehicles is to provide "true door-to-door transportation." The TF-X is designed to seat up to four people and will have computer-controlled flight that that will allow the operator to simply input the desired destination before letting the vehicle take off (from a level clearing of at least 100 ft in diameter) and fly itself.

To enable flight, the TF-X design has fold-out wings with twin electric motor pods attached to the ends. The motors are powered by a 300 hp engine and can move from vertical to horizontal positions as required for taking off, cruising and landing. A ducted fan will provide thrust, and the vehicle will have a cruising speed of 200 mph (322 km/h), as well as a 500 mile (805 km) flight range.

The TF-X works as a plug-in hybrid on the ground
The TF-X works as a plug-in hybrid on the ground

As with taking off, the plan is for the TF-X to land autonomously, though says Terrafugia points out that the user will have the final say regarding whether it's safe to land. Once back on the ground, the car's wings will fold down in a matter of seconds to make it suitable for use as a road-going plug-in hybrid once again.

The one-tenth scale model will be tested at the Wright Brothers wind tunnel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where the Transition was also tested. The testing will help to measure the drag, lift and thrust forces of the new design. Simulations of hovering flight, transitioning to forward flight and full forward flight will also be carried out.

Terrafugia says the TF-X will be another 8-12 years in development.

The video below is an animation of how the newly-designed TF-X is projected to look in action.

Source: Terrafugia

The Terrafugia TF-X™

21 comments
n3r0
How do you get in?
Derek Howe
It looks awesome looking, sucks its a decade away from reality. Are they even selling the transition? It seems like they spent a bunch of time & money on it, then just tossed it to the curb because of the newer/better version.
dsiple
I want one.
christopher
LOL "true door-to-door" - except - they forgot to put doors in it.
Bob809
Unfortunately they do not show the people at either end charging you for take-off and landing rights before you can be on your way again in the 'car.' So, maybe I am cynical, perhaps it's because I am British and this country has got me that way. I'm sure if it ever reaches the UK they will already have thought about how much the government can cream off it. See, there | go again. Love it, the technology, the idea, how enjoyable that will be when it 'arrives.' Wow, the future is not that far away. Let's hope the do-gooders and others who like to spoil such things keep their sticky beaks out.
martinkopplow
I am not convinced. There are quite a few questions left unanswered. Wind tunnel testing a 1/10 model is one thing, flying it another. At the MIT or elewhere, I can wind tunnel test a dust bin, though that does not make it fly. As it is presented now, it will not fly. The thing will look dramatically different after the first airborne tests have been made, probably even before they can be made at all. Trust me, I'm a pilot.
Matt Fletcher
If I were them I'd stick to selling the Transition because this won't be going anywhere in 8 or 12 years. At the moment this vehicle would be to heavy, unbalanced, loud, fuel inefficient, ugly, & unsafe to make a profit.
Vf6cruiser
I'm fairly well convinced these flying cars are just sucker bets........draw people in and get some cash out of them up front and then go BK.......the former CEO sits on the beach with an umbrella drink with a few fiberglass protos in some warehouse somewhere. Pilots won't buy these things, you can get a fast plane buy a car and a nice motorcycle for less than the $250K they want for these fantasy vehicles.
Jay Finke
This will work , until the lawyers make them install child proof fan guards on the props.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Flying cars always get a lot of good comments! Scaling laws make even a 100% scale up on an airplane very hard. A vehicle that actually works and is similar to this is the AV8-B Harrier, which requires considerably more than 300 hp for VTOL.