Feeds

Terrafugia flying car gets road-safety exemptions

Forget about the car in front, it's the car above

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The Terrafugia Transition "roadable" aircraft – a stylish combination of light aeroplane and car – has been granted useful exemptions by the US Department of Transportation.

The Terrafugia Transition flies

It's a car. It can fly. What else do you want? Well, VTOL, silence, robopilot ...

Following representations by Terrafugia to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it has been agreed that production Transitions can use "tires that are appropriately rated for highway speeds and the vehicle weight". They will also be allowed to substitute lightweight polycarbonate windows for traditional automotive safety glass, which is not only heavy but could shatter in such a way as to obscure a pilot's vision in an airborne bird-strike situation.

It had been hoped that Transitions would be delivered from 2009, but Terrafugia has been dogged by delays. A proof-of-concept vehicle did fly in 2009 (pictured) but test results were evidently not all that one might wish as a major redesign followed. New test machines are now being built, and the company has stated that production might commence this year.

Even if all goes to plan, the future of the Transition may not be as rosy as it once seemed. Despite a helpful weight exemption from the aerial feds, according to the new spec a fully-fuelled Transition will be able to lift only 330lb of passengers and payload: it can't get airborne carrying two normal American men. Also the price has ballooned from $148k to $250k.

The Transition is definitely a very cool idea, though, and unlike most flying cars it has actually flown. We here on the Reg flying-car-desk will continue to wish Terrafugia well.

The full text of the exemption as published in the Federal Register can be read online here in PDF. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.