Reuters - Video

EDITION: U.S. | U.K. | IN

Technology

Flying car for the masses set for take-off

Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 02:42

May 23 - New England aviation company Terrafugia has unveiled its latest conceptual version of a flying car. Unlike its current flying car, which is designed for pilots, the new design incorporates autonomous functionality, a move the company says will open up the skies to everybody. Ben Gruber has more.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

Terrafugia's TFX flying-car is designed to take long-distance commuters wherever they want to go - first along roads and then through the air - quickly and efficiently. Assuming the concept gets off the ground, the TFX will have a range of 500 miles and a cruising speed of 200 miles per hour. And the vehicle's operator won't require a pilot's license. The TFX will take-off, fly and land autonomously. Terrafugia is already testing a flying car prototype called the Transition. It's designed for pilots who want to be able to drive their planes home instead of parking them at an airport. But CEO Carl Dietrich says the TFX is different - it's a flying car for the masses. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CARL DIETRICH, TERRAFUGIA CEO, SAYING: "We do want to create a flying car than can be used by a much broader segment of the population than just the pilot community today. We want to lower the barriers for entry. We want to make it easier to learn how to safely operate a vehicle. We want to make it safer than general aviation is today." Dietrich says the TFX's feasibility is the result of modern computer power. Occupants will need only input a programme to tell the car-plane where to go. Dietrich points out that most planes already have sophisticated auto pilot programs. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CARL DIETRICH, TERRAFUGIA CEO, SAYING: "These vehicles that need to be able to basically fly themselves need to know where every other aircraft is in the air space. They need to know where weather fronts are that the need to avoid. They need to know where restricted airspace pops up. So they need to be tied into basically a data network." Dietrich says that the FAA has been making great strides in recent years towards developing that network and he is confident a system will be up and running when the TFX is ready to take to the skies. But there is still the question of safety. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CARL DIETRICH, TERRAFUGIA CEO, SAYING: "Well there are certainly fail safe modes on the computer side but what happens if, if you want to get at the extreme, what happens when everything goes blank on you, when all of the power systems go down, everything. Well in that situation the operator still needs to be trained to do one thing. Pull a handle and that handle actually deploys a parachute. And this is a system that is currently on our current vehicle today, on the Transition, a rocket deployed system to bring the vehicle down safely under a parachute." And while Dietrich concedes that the TFX is only a concept, he believes the era of autonomous flying cars for the masses is just over the horizon.

Flying car for the masses set for take-off

Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 02:42

Top News »

Money »

S&P 500 to new record on improving economy S&P 500 to new record on improving economy

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 - (2:31)

Finding meaning in the S&P 500 2000 mark Finding meaning in the S&P 500 2000 mark

Mon, Aug 25, 2014 - (2:35)

S&P falls back from record high S&P falls back from record high

Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - (1:35)

S&P 500 closes at new high S&P 500 closes at new high

Thu, Aug 21, 2014 - (1:24)

S&P 500 just shy of record S&P 500 just shy of record

Wed, Aug 20, 2014 - (2:23)

Apple hits $100 a share Apple hits $100 a share

Tue, Aug 19, 2014 - (2:06)

Nasdaq closes at 14-year high Nasdaq closes at 14-year high

Mon, Aug 18, 2014 - (2:23)

Putin puts Wall Street in buying mood Putin puts Wall Street in buying mood

Thu, Aug 14, 2014 - (2:10)

We've become a promotional culture-RetailMeNot's Bodge We've become a promotional...

Thu, Aug 14, 2014 - (4:39)

The Exchange »

The Exchange: Hot commodity The Exchange: Hot commodity

Wed, Jul 16, 2014 - (9:25)

The Exchange: Constitutional crusade The Exchange: Constitutional crusade

Wed, Jun 25, 2014 - (11:35)

The Exchange: The value of money The Exchange: The value of money

Mon, Jun 02, 2014 - (9:53)

The Exchange: China’s Second Continent The Exchange: China’s Second Continent

Tue, May 27, 2014 - (9:35)

The Exchange: A master of business arts The Exchange: A master of business arts

Thu, May 08, 2014 - (8:24)

The Exchange: America's bankrupt cities The Exchange: America's bankrupt cities

Mon, May 05, 2014 - (8:52)

The Exchange: Let the rocking commence The Exchange: Let the rocking commence

Tue, Apr 08, 2014 - (8:13)

The Exchange: The Moneyball fallacies The Exchange: The Moneyball fallacies

Mon, Mar 24, 2014 - (9:54)

Is doing good a good business? Is doing good a good business?

Mon, Mar 17, 2014 - (7:38)

Reuters Investigates »

Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead" Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead"

Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - (8:24)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - (4:01)

"Passed around like a dog" "Passed around like a dog"

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (6:32)

Adopted, then abandoned online Adopted, then abandoned online

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (13:21)

How the DEA keeps its secrets secret How the DEA keeps its secrets secret

Mon, Aug 05, 2013 - (1:36)

How education lost its role as the great equalizer - Reuters Investigates How education lost its role as the great...

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - (7:52)

Jihad Jane: From abused child to American jihadist - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: From abused child to American...

Sat, Dec 08, 2012 - (10:01)

Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters...

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - (10:39)

Moving Pictures »

Images of August Images of August

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 - (1:00)

Mending dolls, teddies and hearts Mending dolls, teddies and hearts

Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - (3:12)

"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay "Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - (2:27)

Burned memories Burned memories

Fri, Aug 08, 2014 - (3:02)

Images of July Images of July

Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - (1:20)

World Cup: passion on the pitch World Cup: passion on the pitch

Fri, Jul 11, 2014 - (1:00)

A refugee in America gives back A refugee in America gives back

Wed, Jul 02, 2014 - (3:25)

A long search for refuge A long search for refuge

Fri, Jun 20, 2014 - (3:04)

World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goals World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goals

Fri, Jun 06, 2014 - (1:08)

VIVID – Sydney’s spectacle of light VIVID – Sydney’s spectacle of light

Fri, May 30, 2014 - (1:37)