Rejoice! The autonomous flying car is set to become reality... in a decade or so

Terrafugia claims it has cracked the future of personal transport with its upcoming TF-X model

Hang on a minute, these are just computer renderings...

True but they're computer renderings of the future - a future where we all drive around in cars that can take to the skies at the press of a button. Exciting eh?

Eh, we've been talking about flying cars for ages. Is this for real?

Terrafugia actually already has a track record for creating flying cars. You can head to its website and purchase The Transition - a car that's road legal in the USA and can fly in and out of over 5,000 public airports - right now. It's not quite as smart as the TF-X, but it exists and it works.

What's different about this swanky TF-X model?

It's an upcoming vehicle that uses two high-powered electric motors and a 296bhp petrol engine, which not only propels the four-seater family cruiser along the road but also powers turbines that allow for vertical take-off and landing. Owners with the correct qualifications can fly it pretty much anywhere they want, or noobs can punch a destination into the on-board computer and let the car do all the hard work.

So you don't have to know how to fly?

Not at all. Its maker claims that it can fly itself around 800-km on a full charge, with the petrol tanks full to the brim. That's because the TF-X navigates to a catalogue of pre-set destinations using the latest computer technology. Of course, the owner can take over at any time should things start to go a bit wrong.

Is it safe?

Who knows, it's all a bit of a concept for the time being but Terrafugia - pronounced ter-ra-FOO-gee-ah, which means 'escape the earth' in Latin - claims the TF-X will be capable of automatically avoiding other air traffic, bad weather, and restricted and tower-controlled airspace.

Plus, there's a full-vehicle back-up parachute system should the worst happen.

What is it like on the road?

Likely quite large and cumbersome thanks to it packing a foldable set of wings and propellers, but it is guaranteed to fit inside a standard American garage. On the road, it uses power from an electric motor and large battery packs, while the petrol motor kicks in for added boost during take-off and landing.

It won't bother any Lamborghinis but it can fly, what more could you want? 

When can I buy one?

You can buy The Transition now for around £200,000 (about ₹2 crore) but it doesn't look anywhere near as cool as the TF-X and it isn't capable of the auto landing and take-off stuff. Development of the TF-X is due to last 8-12 years, which gives you plenty of time to start saving.