Originally debuting in 1962, The Jetsons immediately and meteorically became a primetime juggernaut. This popularity can be contributed to the fact that The Jetsons was one of the first mainstream television shows to give the public a look into a futuristic utopia. Boob tubers loved it! It was a world that was filled with everything from servant robots to voice controlled gadgets.
However, the most loved and lauded over piece of technology on The Jetsons was undoubtedly the zipping and zapping hover car. This should be no surprise, though. Ever since the Wright Brothers invented the airplane in 1903, the public has had a fascination with the idea of a flying car. And this fascination has helped to fuel the ambitions of inventors and investors across the world.
In fact, for nearly 100 years now, there have been serious attempts to produce a mainstream, mass produced hover car. Take a look back at some of the key moments:
1917– Glenn Curtiss, who is often referred to as the father of the flying car, attempts to create the first flying car, the Curtiss Autoplane. This aluminum vehicle had 3 wings that spanned 40 feet and had a 4-bladed propeller in the rear. The vehicle never did end up flying, but it did hop around.
- 1946– Robert Fulton develops the Airphibian. Instead of trying to make a car that flies, Fulton tried to develop a plane that drives. The result was a success! It became the first flying car to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. The Airphibian had a 150 horsepower, six cylinder engine and could drive 50 miles per hour, while still taking off for flight. However, the transition between the two was not smooth and Fulton couldn’t find funding to further produce his project.
- 1947– The ConvAirCar debuts and is capable of one hour of flight and a gas mileage of 45 miles per gallon. However, plans to market the car came to a halt when the vehicle crashed on its third flight.
1989– Paul Moller unveils his latest “Skycar,” the M200X. According to inside reports, the vehicle has had 200 successful flights and can go as high as 50 feet. The vehicle, which closely relates The Jetsons vehicle, has never made a serious push to mainstream accessibility.
Obviously, none of these cars have taken over the roads.
It looks as though this century long fantasy is about to become a reality with the Terrafugia TF-X flying car. Set to debut for consumer consumption in either 2015 or 2016, the hybrid powered TF-X has a non-stop flight range of at least 500 miles and can travel at a speed of 200 mph!! This capability, of course, comes from a combination of a 600-horsepower electric motor and a 300-horsepower fuel engine.
The vehicle is also capable of driving on any road or highway with up to four passengers. Conveniently, it is not huge and bulky like its predecessors. In fact, it is so compact that it can even fit inside of a standard single car garage. And don’t worry about space for take-off; it only needs a clearing that is 100 feet in diameter.
But what about the safety????
Well, according to the website, “Operating a TF-X vehicle should be statistically safer than driving a modern automobile… [and] will be capable of automatically avoiding other air traffic, bad weather, and restricted and tower-controlled airspace.” (Wiping the sweat off my brow)…I guess that we shouldn’t expect any sudden, unexpected crashes, a la the ConvAirCar then.
The vehicle, which can be driven manually or just be told where to go, is expected to go on sale in either 2015 or 2016 and be sold for a reasonable $279,000. WOW! The future (and dreams of weekend visits to the Caribbean) suddenly just got a whole lot closer.