Flying cars could be launched in two years after Volvo parent company bought US tech start-up

US firm Terrafugia tripled its number of engineers ahead of expected buyout to speed up design 

Jeff Farrell
Wednesday 15 November 2017 18:24
Advert for 'street-legal plane' startup Terrafugia, recently bought by Volvo's parent company

Flying cars could take to the skies within two years after a start-up company which designs the futuristic vehicles was snapped up by Volvo's parent company.

US tech firm Terrafugia said the cash injection could speed up their plans to get their hybrid Transition vehicle to market, following the massive investment by new owners Geely.

Computer generated images of the design, showed it will feature a two-seat cabin and wings that fold in when the car is on the ground and extend in just under a minute to get the car into the air.

Inventors said that the Transition, which will cost $279,000 (£210,000), will be able to reach up to 10,000 feet and fly for up to 400 miles at a cruise speed of 100mph.

Terrafugia has tripled the number engineers in recent months on the back of expectations that a major firm would buy out the tech start-up and invest heavily in it.

Chinese car-giant Geely confirmed that it had acquired the company in its entirety but did not reveal how much it paid for the Boston tech firm which was founded in 2006.

“This is a tremendously exciting sector and we believe that Terrafugia is ideally positioned to change mobility as we currently understand it and herald the development of a new industry in doing so,” chairman Li Shufu said.

“Our investment in the company reflects our shared belief in their vision and we are committed to extending our full support to Terrafugia, leveraging the synergies provided by our international operations and track record of innovation, to make the flying car a reality.”

Terrafugia CEO Chris Jaran added: “After working in the helicopter industry for over 30 years, and the aviation industry in China for 17 years, Terrafugia presents a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of a fledgling but enormously exciting industry.”

Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US gave Terrafugia an exemption from the special approval which is usually required for a craft that can fly.

Owners of a Transition will just need to get a sport pilot certificate, which takes just 20 hours of training to acquire, before they can legally get behind the wheel of the hybrid and hit the skies.

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