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Volvo's parent company buys flying car startup business

The Terrafugia Transition — Terrafugia pic via AFP
The Terrafugia Transition — Terrafugia pic via AFP

WOBURN, July 11 — The motor industry currently appears to be fixated on bringing driverless cars to our roads, but some are looking way beyond that to a point where cars might be able to do without roads as often as they can cope without a human driving them.

For the most part, flying cars have always been the stuff of comic books and fantasy visions of what the future holds for us.

However, it seems some people and companies are taking the idea of flying cars altogether more seriously. Including Volvo's Chinese parent company Geely, which has just acquired the startup business behind what is generally regarded to be currently the world's most promising flying car concept.

The company Geely has bought out is Terrafugia, and the flying car it's responsible for is appropriately called the Transition. Terrafugia is already the company that has so far come the closest to making flying cars a reality, and now with the considerably deeper pockets of Geely, it does raise the prospect of us soon seeing Volvos with wings flying high above our highways.

Of course, there are other companies around experimenting with futuristic car/plane hybrid vehicles, but Terrafugia is arguably the first to develop what can be seen as a truly convincing working prototype.

This impressive vertical take-off and landing creation is a much sleeker, more polished and convincing vehicle than any of its rivals, and Terrafugia's Transition has an impressive cruising range of around 400 miles and a 100 mph top speed.

A full-vehicle parachute is deployed to bring the car down to earth and safely back onto the road, and there's even advanced autonomous flight technology onboard to prevent Transition pilots from crashing.

If anyone is still not convinced and thinks this is more of a joke than a serious endeavor, it's worth noting the Transition is one of the few vehicles of its type to be given Federal Aviation Administration approval, which lets the transforming car be certified as a Light Sport Aircraft.

Terrafugia has therefore been given the green light to create a road- and air-legal vehicle weighing up to 1,800 pounds, which has now led to the startup becoming a valuable purchase for the China-based company behind Volvo. — AFP-Relaxnews

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