The video above is just a little aside to get us into this story. It's for all the die hard Bruce Willis fans (pun intended) who remember his work in the 1997 sci-film 'Fifth Element.'
In this clip, Bruce is involved an Air Car Chase Scene - pretty futuristic, far-fetched stuff at the time. But perhaps, not so much these days.
A U.S. aerospace start-up recently unveiled a concept design for the TF-X, which according to the BBC, is a plan for a "radical new type of personal air transport vehicle."
Essentially, a flying car.
The company is called Terrafugia and its co-founder Carl Dietrich tells the BBC "the vision is to try to create the future of personal transportation that people have dreamed about for years."
Photo: Via Terrafugia
In car mode, the TF-X is designed to be a plug-in hybrid with an electric motor and battery pack.
To fly, it would have two propeller pods, each with 16 independent motors with its own controller and battery pack. And it would take off and land like a helicopter (with help from a hydrocarbon combustion engine).
If you think parallel parking is difficult now, try doing it vertically for a driving test in the future.
The designers say their flying car could go as fast 320 kilometres (200 miles) an hour and travel 800 kilometres (500 miles) per trip. And according to the Terrafugia website, the TF-X "will carry four people in car-like comfort" and provide "true door-to-door convenience".
Photo: Via Terrafugia
Mario Gerla studies traffic solutions at the University of California Los Angeles - a city that could use some help.
He's warm to the idea but warns, "In the air, you're just one more plane. But if you take off from your parking lot and fly a few blocks away, it is more like a helicopter. It becomes much more flexible, and interesting, but maybe dangerous."
Dr. Frank Nieuwenhuizen, an Aerospace Engineer is intrigued as well, but he tells the BBC that "acceptance is a big part of it, and that's where a lot of work still needs to be done in terms of what will actually happen when something like this becomes available. Would people want such a flying vehicle above their homes all the time?"
Terrafugia says it is taking orders for the car, but the "final pricing will not be set until we are much closer to delivery" and admits that the TF-X will be "more expensive than a 'normal car' due to the higher costs of the enabling light-weight materials."
The company hopes to make its design a reality in the next 8 to 12 years.
Via the BBC