Volvo’s parent company has bought a flying-car company that wants to have a vehicle in the air by 2019.
Chinese firm Geely, which now owns the Swedish-founded car giant, has announced its purchase of Terrafugia, a US company that specialises in the technology behind, and the production of, flying cars.
Terrafugia was founded in 2006 by a group of graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has set itself a goal of delivering its first flying car by 2019 and then a vertical take-off and landing vehicle (VTOL) to market by 2023.
According to the announcement, Terrafugia will stay based in the US and continue to work on its flying-car technology.
Founder and chief technology officer Carl Dietrich said: “We started Terrafugia with a vision to change the future of transportation with practical flying cars that enable a new dimension of personal freedom.
“Now, as part of Geely Holding Group, I am confident that we can reach that vision and subsequent commercial success by utilising the group’s shared global synergy.”
A future of flying cars has been a popular subject in the news recently, with Uber revealing more details about its uberAIR ambitions last week.
The company wants to introduce flying-car versions of its ride-hailing services, and has trials planned in Los Angeles and Dallas in the coming years.
Geely chairman Li Shufu said the technology was becoming an increasingly central part of the motoring industry.
“The team at Terrafugia have been at the forefront of believing in and realising the vision for a flying car and creating the ultimate mobility solution,” he said.
“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.
“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.”