Terrefugia, an American company hoping to sell the world's first practical flying car, has been purchased by Geely.

The Chinese company also owns Volvo, Lotus, and Lynk&Co, all of which have benefitted from Geely's largely hands-off backing.

With automotive projects led by people whose feet are so firmly planted on the ground, one can't help but wonder what's going on with this investment in, to put it kindly, science fiction-like technology.

Terrafugia was started in 2006 and flew its first prototype in 2009. The company says that it intends to sell a flying car to the public in 2019.

The Transition, as it's called, will run you between $300,000 and $400,000, says Terrafugia, which is steep, but to be fair would you really be comfortable in a flying car made to a budget?

It should be good for 400 miles of air travel and a top speed of 100 mph at a max altitude of 10,000 feet. Less is known about its road holding properties, but if you flip the wings you'll have good aero to keep you glued to the ground.

It's been suggested that flying cars won't work until there's a really good autopilot system, because of the consequences of human error in the air. With Volvo investing heavily in developing its own autonomous driving system for the road, it could be that it makes this flying car a little more realistic.

Perhaps a more likely scenario, though, is that Geely wants to buy the company for its lightweight materials and construction processes.

Whatever the case, we'll be watching carefully because if there's any chance of us climbing into a flying car, it would have to have a Volvo badge and the promise of safety associated therewith.

[source: AutoExpress ]