By Tim Sticklings, Daily Mail
The world’s first flying car is set to go on the market with pre-sales scheduled to begin next month.
The first of the two-seat hybrid-electric vehicles, which can switch between driving and flying modes in less than a minute, will be delivered to customers next year.
According to manufacturer Terrafugia, which belongs to the parent company of Volvo, the Transition can fly up to 400 miles (640km) at top speeds of 100mph (160kmh).
The price has not yet been determined but preliminary sales for the first of the pioneering models will begin in October, according to China‘s news agency Xinhua.
Recent improvements to the vehicle have included a hybrid-electric motor, upgraded seats, more luggage storage, improved seat belts and airbags, the company said.
The vehicle has also been fitted with rear-view cameras and a new parachute system, as well as ‘boost’ mode, which gives ‘a brief burst of extra power while flying’.
It was certified as a Light Sport Aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2016.
The vehicle also meets National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration standards but consumers will need a pilot’s license to operate the Transition.
The company believes Transition could be a useful vehicle for pilots to land at small airports and drive straight home.
The aircraft has fold-out wings, weighing roughly 1,300 pounds, and has fixed landing gear. It can fly to a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet.
The TF-X, a planned four-person follow-up, will be computer-controlled so that passengers can type in a destination before taking off.
‘The TF-X won’t require an airport for takeoff and landing, and it will drive on all roads and highways – providing the convenience of true door-to-door transportation,’ the company said.
The company’s CEO Chris Jaran said in July: ‘Developing this new technology has allowed us to test several different mechanisms and generate process improvements along the way.
‘We are at the critical point where we can implement the best design features based on years of flight and drive testing.
‘This will improve function, safety and aesthetics for the optimal flying and driving experience.’
An artist’s rendering of the vehicle on road. The vehicle also meets National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration standards but consumers will need a pilot’s license to operate it
The vehicle will have a cruising speed of 200 mph (322 km/h), along with a 500-mile (805 km) flight range.
TF-X will have fold-out wings with twin electric motors attached to each end.
These motors allow the TF-X to move from a vertical to a horizontal position, and will be powered by a 300 hp engine.
The planned four-person TF-X will be semi-autonmous and use computer-controlled so that passengers can simply type in a destination before taking off.
TF-X vehicles will be capable of automatically avoiding other air traffic, bad weather, and restricted and tower-controlled airspace.
The vehicle will be able to recharge its batteries either from its engine or by plugging in to electric car charging stations.