It’s the year 2011, and we aren’t commuting in our personal flying cars, which means we are at least 11 years behind everyone’s prediction. Well Terrafugia is trying to change that with a flying car called the Transition. The Transition is basically a plane that folds up into a car-sized vehicle, which allows you to drive and fly in the same vehicle.
The Transition has been in development for quite some time now, but it has been lacking one key feature: legality. Today’s announcement from Terrafugia states that the company has received exemption from certain National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) laws. The two exemptions focus on the tires and the windshield of the Transition. The NHTSA requires that all vehicles that travel on a highway have a windshield that is made out of laminated safety glass, but in order to keep the weight low the Transition needs a polycarbonate windshield. The company claims that not only would a glass windshield be too heavy, but it could also crack and cause a loss of visibility while flying. The Transition’s tires also received an exemption, even though they are highway-rated for speed and weight, but they do not fit into the NHTSA’s definition of “multi-purpose” tires.
We still haven’t seen anything of substance from DARPA and their flying car, and as much as we would love to have a jetpack it just doesn’t seem practical at this point. Terrafugia might just be our best chance at a production flying car. The company’s website states that it is taking orders now, and should start making delivers to customers some time in 2012. Watch out George Jetson, here we come!