By Nathalie Bonney

A HIGH-flying company is hoping that futuristic airborne cars will soon become a reality

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Videographer / director: Terrafugia
Producer: Mark Hodge, Nick Johnson
Editor: Joshua Douglas, Ian Phillips

An artist's 3D rendering of what the flying car, named the TF-X, will look like

Massachusetts-based Terrafugia, which was founded in 2006 by a team of MIT graduates, plans to start selling its flying car, named the TF-X, in as little as eight years.

The vehicle has been developed as a car which can fly - rather than a plane which can drive

And the manufacturer expects to have developed full-size unmanned prototypes of the TF-X by 2018.

The innovative vehicle wouldn't look out of place in the iconic film franchise Back to the Future.

The TF-X may look like something out of a science fiction movie - but Terrafugia hope to start production in as little as eight years

The TF-X is still in the early stages of development but Terrafugia, which is derived from the Latin for ‘escape the earth’, predicts production in the next 8-12 years.

The flying car will have a range of up to 500 miles and cruise top speeds of up to 200mph.

The company's first model, named the Transition, pictured landing at Lawrence Municipal Airport, Massachusetts

And because of its semi-automated flight capabilities, drivers won’t even need a traditional pilot’s license to fly the TF-X.

Terrafugia spokesperson Dagny Dukach says the amazing automobile “will catalyse a revolution in personal mobility”.

The TF-X would offer the comfort and drivability of a normal road car

She said: “With simplified flight controls, a familiar layout and automated vertical takeoff and landed technology, the TF-X will make personal aviation more accessible than ever before.”

The four seat TF-X will aim to be both a plane and a car. The vehicle will be a plug-in electric hybrid, which will also run on premium unleaded fuel and is expected to cost the same as a high-end luxury car.

The innovative vehicle does not need a runway to take off either incorporating rotors similar to a helicopter

In development since 2013, the TF-X is Terrafugia’s second flying vehicle. Its first, the Transition, looked more like an aeroplane but with the ability to drive on the ground too. 

So far the Transition has already clocked 100 hours of flying and driving time.

Terrafugia believe the car could open the door to a revolution in everyday travel

Terrafugia is currently in the process of developing scale prototypes of the TF-X for flight testing.

In order to carry out these test flights, the company had to request special authorisation from the Federal Aviation Administration, which it was granted in December 2015.

An artist's 3D rendering of what the sleek automobile will look like

“We believe that the TF-X will revolutionise personal transportation, and will create a new dimension of personal freedom for us all,” Dukach said.