Thursday, July 7, 2011

Flying Car!

Ever since the year 2000 hit, you've probably been wondering where the hell is your flying car.

Here it is. The Terrafugia Transition Roadable Aircraft, cleared for highway use on June 30 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In order to get there, they had to give it some exemptions from regulations other cars have to follow- a lighter windshield, aircraft tires, and the FAA had to give it a weight exemption allowing it to fly 110 pounds heavier than other planes in the 'light sport aircraft' category into which it has been placed.

It's not going to be the greatest car in the world. It's only got 100 horsepower. It will only do 65 MPH on the road and 115 MPH in the air. You'll need 1,700 feet of road in order to take off, plus room to fold out the wings, which will take 30 seconds to do. But hey. Flying car. You wanted a flying car, here's a flying car.

If all goes well, it will be available at the end of 2012 and will run you a mere quarter-million dollars.

Meanwhile, Urban Aeronautics out of Israel is trying to develop a flying car of their own, called the AirMule. It's not ready yet- steering and stability are still kinks that have to be ironed out- but not only do they plan to make it fly, they want to add robot arms to it as well. That, however, is going to keep it off the showroom floor; the robot arms are intended for inspection and maintenance- power lines, bridges, things like that. You won't get to have new and amusing ways to cut off some guy in traffic.

And also, they don't intend to make it a manned vehicle. It's to be operated remotely. Which is a total buzzkill.

You can't get too down, though. One flying car is plenty to be giddy over.

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