Geely – the Chinese company that owns Volvo – has just acquired the startup behind the world’s most promising flying car. Known for the impressive vertical takeoff and landing vehicle called the “Transition,” Terrafugia is the company that’s come the closest to making flying cars a reality. Now, thanks to Geely’s deep pockets, it looks like we could soon be seeing winged Volvos soaring over the freeway.
While there are other companies out there experimenting with futuristic hybrid vehicles, Terrafugia is arguably the first to make a truly convincing prototype. Offering a far more sleek and polished vehicle than any of its competitors, Terrafugia’s Transition boasted a cruising range of 400 miles and a top speed of 100 MPH. As well as being fitted with a full-vehicle parachute to bring the car back onto roads, the Transition also uses advanced autonomous flight tech in order to stop its pilots from crashing.
More crucially for Geely though, the Transition is one of the few hybrid vehicles to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, allowing the transforming car to be certified as a Light Sport Aircraft. This means that Terrafugia can create a road- and air-legal vehicle that weighs up to 1,800 pounds – making the startup a valuable purchase for the China-based company.
Written by Tom Regan for Engadget.