From A to B
Here Is The Tesla Model S Of The Skies By Terrafugia [Video]
The Tesla of the skies is right around the corner.
Terrafugia, a Massachusetts-based company with the mission to revolutionize "personal mobility," already built the first street-legal airplane. Now, it's working on an aircraft that can take off and land in the sapce of some backyards.
The TF-X is a four-seat, plug-in hybrid electric car that can do vertical take-offs and landings similar to the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. One megawatt of power runs the TF-X's twin 600 horsepower electric engines and a single 300 horepower engine for cruising.
It will fit into a standard single-car garage, have a range of at least 500 miles and "should be statistically safer than driving a modern automobile."
It will also charge itself with its electric motor and be capable of using charging stations for electric cars.
Helicopters are said to be about as difficult to fly are an airplane, which require many hours of instruction before you can obtain a license. However the TF-X will not be difficult to fly at all, according to Carl Dietrich, the chief executive and co-founder of aerospace company.
Although not driverless, Dietrich told CNN the TF-X could increase the level of so-called "human directed local autonomy," a term he describes as a "big fancy phrase" that essentially means that the vehicle's operator won't need to have the knowledge or skills of a pilot.
"They don't need to know those things because the computer is plugged in to a data network that automatically helps them plan the flight path, avoid other air traffic and air space restrictions, things of that nature," Dietrich told CNN.
This is one of several things that make the TF-X more desierable than the Trasition, the first street-legal airplane.
There are more than 100 orders in place for the Transition, which are expected to be delivered to buyers in the second quarter fo 2016. Although the vehicle is road-legal, drivers will still have to have at least a sport pilot's license to fly the aircraft, which requires 20 hours of flight time, accoridng to CNN.
The TF-X will only require about five hours of training to operate and a specific operator's license versus a piolet's, making it more appealing and accessible to a much broader range of people.
Only, that license does not exist yet and is one of several barriers that are keeping the TF-X out of skies for the time being.
Dietrech said the TF-X is probably eight to 10 years away from buyers, even if it was fully funded, which it is not.
He told CNN Terrafugia is "heavily invovled" in international committees setting standards for electric motors and batteries in general aviation aircaft.
"Those sort of things have never been certified before so we don't know how long it will take for regulatory bodies to adapt to the new technology," he told CNN. "The rules are all very old, the rules need to be updated," added Dietrich. "If the rules are successfully updated then we see the possibility for somebody to get what we call a TF-X operator's permit in as little as five hours."
Here is an informational video about the TF-X.