Alexandra
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Alexandra in Tech Talk,

Terrafugia has released a new design for its planned TF-X.

Flying-car developer Terrafugia has released new designs for its planned TF-X model. The TF-X is a planned autonomous flying car that was announced back in 2013. The updated design shows a sleeker body shape, a one-tenth scale model of which will be tested in a wind tunnel at MIT.

The newer flying car will be a hybrid electric vehicle. It will have the capacity to carry four people, fit into a standard single-car garage, and be both street-legal and easy to fly -- taking, on average, around five hours to learn to operate in the skies, the company said. It will also, according to Terrafugia , be able to take off and land vertically, with "auto-landing" at approved sites.

Terrafugia says the aim of its vehicles is to provide "true door-to-door transportation." The TF-X is designed to seat up to four people and will have computer-controlled flight that that will allow the operator to simply input the desired destination before letting the vehicle take off (from a level clearing of at least 100 ft in diameter) and fly itself.

To enable flight, the TF-X design has fold-out wings with twin electric motor pods attached to the ends. The motors are powered by a 300 hp engine and can move from vertical to horizontal positions as required for taking off, cruising and landing. A ducted fan will provide thrust, and the vehicle will have a cruising speed of 200 mph (322 km/h), as well as a 500 mile (805 km) flight range.

The one-tenth scale model will be tested at the Wright Brothers wind tunnel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where the Transition was also tested. The testing will help to measure the drag, lift and thrust forces of the new design. Simulations of hovering flight, transitioning to forward flight and full forward flight will also be carried out. Terrafugia says that the TF-X will be another 8-12 years in development.