Imagine a future where you can step inside a flying car, buckle up, and then sit back and relax as it automatically takes off and navigates to your destination. That future may not be too far off, as Terrafugia recently announced it’s working on transforming flying cars that can drive and fly on their own.

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Terrafugia co-founder and CEO Carl Dietrich commented that he wanted to make the flying car practical at the MIT Tech Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “We want something that is statistically safer than driving a car,” Dietrich explained to Computer World at the conference. “We think that’s possible. It needs to be faster than driving a car. It needs to be simpler to operate than a plane. It needs to be more convenient than driving a car today. It needs to be sustainable in the long run.”

Related: Terrafugia Unveils the World’s First Flying Hybrid-Electric Car

Dietrich envisions the next-generation flying car will be a plug-in hybrid that does not require the operator to be a licensed pilot. (It takes a lot of training to fly and land even the simplest aircraft like a glider.) Although it’s still a long way out, Self-driving (and flying) technology could potentially leap this hurdle.

Terrafugia has already proven that the technology is there. The company took its first driveable plane, the Transition, on its maiden flight way back in March 2012 at Plattsburgh International Airport in upstate New York. The same land and air vehicle also completed its first public air show in Wisconsin last August. Now the company has been working towards developing the world’s first hybrid-electric flying automobile, the TF-X.

+ Terrafugia

Via Computer World

Images © Terrafugia

Related: Terrafugia’s Flying Car Completes First Public Flight