Terrafugia is pleased to announce the winner of their GrabCAD TF-X industrial design challenge. Vedran Martinek’s design was selected as having the best aesthetic improvement while remaining true to the baseline TF-X flying car concept. This industrial design concept will now go through a series of technical, aerodynamic, and structural evaluations which will continue to refine the outer mold line (OML) of TF-X.
In parallel with the advancement of the industrial design of TF-X, Terrafugia’s engineering team is exploring the full scale integration of a high power distributed electric propulsion system for TF-X. The TF-X Motor Pod Test Article was developed to evaluate the practical challenges associated with the integration of such a distributed propulsion system as well as the environmental (noise) impact of such a motor pod.
VTOL Flying car goals
TF-X will carry four people in car-like comfort.
TF-X will have a non-stop flight range of at least 500 miles.
TF-X will fit into a standard construction single car garage.
TF-X will be able to takeoff vertically from a level clearing of at least 100ft in diameter.
TF-X will be able to drive on roads and highways – providing true door-to-door convenience and an automotive level of weather insensitivity.
Vision of TF-X Technical Operations:
* TF-X is a fixed wing street-legal aircraft with electric ground drive and electric power assist on takeoff and landing.
* TF-X will be able to recharge its batteries either from its engine or by plugging in to electric car charging stations.
* TF-X will be capable of “auto-landing” at approved landing sites within approved weather limits.
* Prior to departure, the operator selects a primary target landing zone and backup landing zones. If the TF-X calculates insufficient energy on board to conduct last minute aborts at the first two sites and safely navigate to and land at the third within a 30 minute reserve, or if the forecast weather in any of the three landing zones would be outside the allowable limits, or if any of the selected landing zones are in temporarily restricted airspace (TFRs), departure will not be allowed until appropriate landing zones are selected.
* If manual operation (sightseeing) or changing weather causes the second backup landing zone to fall outside the range of the limits, the operator will be notified and prompted to select new landing zones within the new restrictions.
* The TF-X operator will have final say over whether an approved landing zone is actually a safe place in which to land, and they may abort the landing attempt at any time.
* Aborting the third landing at the end of an extended flight would result in the automatic declaration of an emergency and a horizontal (airplane-like) landing at the nearest airport.
* Normal TF-X operations will be conducted only in non-tower controlled airspace (Class E and G) and on the ground. Operators who wish to operate in tower controlled airspace (Class B, C, or D) can get additional training.
* Licensed TF-X operators will be allowed to apply to add new landing zones to an approved landing zone database.
* TF-X will advise the operator if they are approaching restricted or tower-controlled airspace, or unnecessarily increasing the risk to human life (as could happen through carelessness, bad intentions, or if the operator becomes incapacitated). If the operator does not take the appropriate corrective action, the TF-X vehicle will automatically notify authorities by “declaring an emergency” on behalf of the operator.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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