Flying cars is often used to explain what future would look like and it seems the future is already here as flying cars will soon be a reality. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given nod to a hybrid ground-air vehicle that can soar at speeds of 100 mph.
The car,Terrafugia Transition, received a Special Light-Sport Aircraft airworthiness certificate from FAA, giving it the green light for takeoff, the Dailymail reported. A flight-only version of the craft has been made available to pilots and flight schools. However, for these cars to hit the streets, and the skies, it will take another year as it still needs to meet road safety standards.
The car can go from flight mode to drive mode within a minute and can take off and land in small airports or the highway. The vehicle will likely have production and approvals on the two-seat hybrid complete for 2022, but those interested in taking it for a spin will need both a driver's license and a sport pilot's certificate.
The flying car can fly at speeds of 100 mph and soar to an altitude of 10,000 feet. Flight-only models are now available, with full air-land version expected in 2022
Chinese-owned Terrafugia has been overly optimistic about delivering a 'roadable aircraft,' a small plane with retractable wings that can both drive on roads and take to the open sky.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen is conducting a feasibility study in China about flying cars, Europe's biggest automaker said on Tuesday, joining a growing number of companies looking into the potential technology.
"Beyond autonomous driving the concept of vertical mobility could be a next step to take our mobility approach into the future, especially in the technically affine Chinese market," the German group said in a statement.
"Therefore we are investigating potential concepts and partners in a feasibility study to identify the possibility to industrialize this approach."
In an interview with Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess on Linkedin, the carmaker's China head Stephan Woellenstein said the company wanted to develop a drone that could be licensed, giving it a way to participate in this future market.
China is the world's biggest autos market, and also accounts for the largest part of Volkswagen's sales.
The news comes as companies from start-ups to other global carmakers are racing to develop commercial "robo-taxis", hoping to cash in on a market Morgan Stanley says could be worth $1.5 trillion by 2040.
In addition to big players such as Volkswagen and Airbus, groups including U.S.-based Joby, Germany's Lilium, and Volocopter, whose financial backers include Daimler and Intel, are pursuing such plans.
Munich-based Lilium said in November it would set up its first U.S. hub near Orlando, putting more than 20 million Floridians within range of its winged electric aircraft that can take off vertically and cover 300 km (185 miles).
(with inputs from Reuters)