Terrafugia's new commercial vehicle can fly and is small enough for roadways - but can we really herald it as the "flying car"?

Terrafugia’s Transition model “roadable aircraft” has now gone into production, expected to be available in early 2011. Being a “light sport” class vehicle, the Transition is currently limited only to those with 20 hours of flight experience and $194,000 to cover the asking price.

Watch a video demonstation below:

As these kind of hybrid vehicles begin to emerge – even if only in the form of rudimentary prototypes like Terrafugia’s Transition – it reminds us of the human tendency to think of the development of technology as relatively linear. In this case, it’s tempting to think that the “flying car” of futuristic dreams represents a simple jump from driving on the ground to driving in the air, as the newscasters in the above video and various media outlets seem all too excited to exclaim. But just as the Internet is not “just paper, but faster” and mobile devices are not “just phones, that you can take anywhere,” the idea of a ubiquitous vehicle that the general public operates will represent a fundamental shift in the way we organize transportation networks and the rules that govern them.

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