60-Second Tech

Flying Car Debuts at New York City Auto Show

Terrafugia's Transition two-seat "roadable aircraft" comes to the New York International Auto Show after a maiden flight. Larry Greenemeier reports

It’s the symbol of a future that never happened: a practical flying car has been on inventors’ drawing boards since the 1930s. A few flying cars were produced, but were really glorified small airplanes. 

But could the future finally be here? Woburn, Mass.-based Terrafugia announced last week that its Transition two-seater has been cleared for takeoff. A prototype of the "roadable aircraft"—that’s what they call flying cars these days—recently completed an eight-minute maiden flight in upstate New York, reaching an altitude of about 425 meters.

The company has been developing the Transition since 2006. Its latest projection is that it will go on sale by the end of the year at a cost of about $200,000.

Next stop for the Transition is the New York International Auto Show, where Terrafugia will debut the latest production prototype.

It might be anticlimactic to see the Transition inside the Javitz Convention Center rather than out on a runway or road. Still, for most attendees it will be the first time they see a street-legal vehicle with foldable wings up close. And not in some World’s Fair exhibit called “The World of Tomorrow.”

—Larry Greenemeier

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]


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