It would appear flying cars are the next big thing to follow autonomous driving, with companies such as Airbus and Uber making public their intentions to develop in that area. Start-up company Terrafugia has been acquired by Geely (who also recently bought a 49.9% equity stake in Malaysian automaker Proton), according to a report by The Detroit Bureau.

Founded by a group of MIT graduates, Terrafugia is perhaps the furthest along in their development of flying cars, with its model the Transition having received certification last year from the Federal Aviation Administration. “Don’t think of it as a car that flies. Think of it as a plane that drives,” said Carl Dietrich, CEO of Terrafugia at the Transition’s launch in 2012; its base price was estimated at $279,000 then.

Currently, the Transition is powered by Rotax piston engines, though Terrafugia is considering a change to electric motors as part of a hybrid powertrain. According to Terrfugia, the Transition is able to fly at a cruising speed of around 160 km/h, with a ceiling of 10,000 feet, and a maximum range of about 640 km.

More recently, the company showed off the design for its next model, the TF-X. Capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), it has sleeker, more car-like styling, and twin electric motors that will provide at least one megawatt (1,341 hp) of power. Together with the 300 hp petrol engine, they should provide enough thrust to propel the TF-X to a cruising speed of 322 km/h at attitude.

There are other companies with flying cars in their pipelines as well, notably Aeromobil with an aircraft that will do 160 km/h with a range of 695 km on the ground, or 745 km in the air with a maximum speed of 357 km/h. Google co-founder Larry Page has also been said to have invested in flying cars, with over US$100 million invested into two such ventures. Toyota also has patents for a shapeshifting, flying car design.

GALLERY: Terrafugia TF-X