We've seen it in comic strips and graphic novels, but it never appears in auto shows. But it turns out that more than a dozen flying cars are in development, and Terrafugia, a firm based in Woburn, Massachusetts, is about to launch the first commercial model, called the Transition.
According to the Economist, "The Transition is perhaps best described as a road plane, rather than a flying car. It is essentially a small, $279,000 plane that has been designed to be legally roadworthy. Push a button and the wings fold up, allowing the pilot to start driving it like a car. It even runs on (gasoline), with a range of 600 miles on the ground or 400 miles in the air. Around 100 aircraft have been reserved, and the first is due to be delivered later this year."
The Transition is being marketed to pilots who want to be able to drive to the airport and take off without changing vehicles, or land at a distant airport and not be stranded. It's intended to be a transitional product, a step on the way to true sky cars capable of taking off and landing almost anywhere.
Meanwhile, the disposal of used rubber tires (which can't be recycled) is one of the biggest landfill problems on the Earth, but it may be solved in the future.
Are you sweet enough to drive on tires made of sugar? Motorists may be driving on the world’s first “green” tires within the next few years, as partnerships between tire companies and biotechnology firms make it possible to produce key raw materials for tires from sugar rather than petroleum or rubber trees. Companies like Goodyear and Michelin have teamed up with biotechnology firms to genetically engineer microbes that produce the key raw materials for rubber from sugar.
But this doesn't mean the big business has gotten a conscience and gone "green." (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this dynamic show). Researcher Melody M. Bomgardner says hat tight supplies and high prices for the natural rubber and synthetic rubber used to make tires--almost 1 billion annually worldwide--are behind the drive toward renewable, sustainable sources for raw materials. Petroleum, for instance, is the traditional source for raw materials needed to make tires, with a single tire requiring almost 7 gallons of oil. But changes in oil-refining practices have reduced supplies of those raw materials.
"Sweet" tires will probably show up within 3-5 years.
Come learn MORE about the latest technologies (including new information about UFOs) at our Dreamland Festival in May. Whether you drive or fly conventionally, or take off in your flying car, we GUARANTEE that you'll be glad you came!