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*** VIDEO AVAILABLE *** UNSPECIFIED - UNDATED: An artist's 3D rendering of what the flying car, named the TF-X, will look like. A HIGH-flying company is hoping that futuristic airborne cars will soon become a reality. 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. 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 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. PHOTOGRAPH BY Terrafugia / Barcroft Cars UK Office, London. T +44 845 370 2233 W USA Office, New York City. T +1 212 796 2458 W Indian Office, Delhi. T +91 11 4053 2429 W (Photo credit should read Terrafugia / Barcroft Cars / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Flying car maker Terrafugia bought by Geely

Enlarge (credit: Terrafugia / Barcroft Cars / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

One of the most remarkable transformations in the auto industry has been the flourishing of Volvo Cars under the ownership of Chinese parent company Geely. It could be a poster child for the right way to acquire and manage a brand—one simply needs to look at Volvo’s tenure under previous owner Ford, or perhaps the fate of Saab under General Motors, to see things don’t always turn out well. Geely has been on a little bit of a purchasing spree of late. In May it bought Lotus, giving hope to fans of the lightweight sports cars. And on Monday, it finalized another sale, this time for something a little more left field: Terrafugia. That’s right, it’s getting into the flying car business.

Perhaps you’re reading this and already cataloguing the many reasons you think a mass-market flying car will never happen. And right now, such skepticism is probably justified. But it’s hard to escape the fact that the idea is being taken increasingly seriously. Boeing just bought Aurora Flight Sciences, which is working with Uber to develop flying car services for Dallas and Dubai. (Uber plans to launch that service in 2020.) Airbus just revealed it intends to test its Vahana VTOL machine by the end of this year. Google’s Larry Page has not one but two flying car startups. Right now the only thing missing from this corner of the market is Elon Musk’s presence, although he’s probably a little preoccupied learning how to mass-produce a non-flying car.

“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,” said Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Founder and Chairman Li Shufu. “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.”

Source: Ars Technica