Over the past few years, the Chinese car company Geely has made it a habit of buying up some automakers that have been struggling but had excellent reputations. These acquisitions included Volvo and will include Lotus in the near future. This company has recently bought another company that makes a bit of a different vehicle in order to make it one that is expanding its reach beyond the models that drive on the road or the track as Geely looks to build their business and brings more names under their umbrella.
Geely has recently purchased Terrafugia which is a company that has been built by graduates from MIT with one goal; to build and sell a street legal vehicle that can also transition into an airplane. There are several companies out there that have worked to this same goal, some trying to create vehicle that can lift off straight into the air and act like a helicopter, but Terrafugia has taken a different approach to this and has become admired enough to have received deposits from those that want to buy a vehicle that can both drive on the road and fly in the air.
The vehicle this team of experts has come up with is the Transition. This is a roadable aircraft that features folding wings that can become small enough to drive around on the road and be able to then open up and take off given a proper runway. Because this is a plane first and a car second and it does fly any owner would need to have a license as a pilot and file flight plans before takeoff, but based upon the video you see below this vehicle can actually do both by driving on the road and then taking off as an airplane.
The team at Terrafugia have developed this folding wing technology and it allows them to have a role as a contractor for the DARPA Transformer TX which is a demonstrator for roadable aircraft for the US military which is always looking for excellent ways to help incorporate more technology. In addition to becoming one of the contractors for this display, the company has enough deposits already to represent what could be as much as $25 million in sales if they are able to bring a fully functional model to the masses.
Will this new acquisition have any influence on Volvo or vice versa? Initial indications would say there won’t be any influence at all. Some of the questions for this new company and the product include items that make us wonder exactly how good this vehicle will be on the road and what the fuel needed will be. It won’t be a plane/car that’s used for most driving and certainly will only attract those that can afford the high cost of this vehicle, but it’s certainly a step farther in the possibility of being a vehicle that can do what we need to both fly and drive.