Will the Rocket Car Blast Your Commute?

If you’re one of many commuters who spend countless hours in the car between work and home, you’ve probably seen more than your share of gridlock. Chances are at least once or twice you’ve closed your eyes and dreamed of your car sprouting rockets and wings to lift you far above the parking lot that used to be a freeway. Well, don’t go trading your drivers’ license for a pilot’s license just yet, but some of MIT’s "Aeronautics and Astronautics" students are working on making your rocket car dreams come true

Rocket Car

This summer, graduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will try to get an idea aloft that has intrigued people for decades: the flying car.

Terrafugia, a start-up created by Lemelson-MIT Student Prize winner Carl Dietrich and colleagues at MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, is aiming to show off what it calls the Transition "personal air vehicle," an SUV with retractable wings, to the EAA AirVenture Conference in Oshkosh, Wis., at the end of July.

The Transition is designed for 100- to 500-mile jumps. It will carry two people and luggage on a single tank of premium unleaded gas. It will also come with an electric calculator (to help fine-tune weight distribution), airbags, aerodynamic bumpers and of course a GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation unit.

Right now, there’s no prototype (I told you not to get your hopes up yet) and according to the article the company doesn’t plan to have one of these in the air before 2009 or 2010. Meanwhile, you can start saving up for one, and check out the pictures of their (one-fifth scale) wind tunnel model. While you’re at it, why not print out a copy and attach it to your sun visor just to have something concrete to dream about while you wait for the traffic to inch forward again?