Volkswagen’s sports car maker Porsche is working on a drone concept that could be used as a flying taxi to compete with rivals in a possible market for urban air taxis and ride-sharing services, Porsche sales chief Detlev von Platen told a German magazine, Automobilwoche.
Porsche is joining a number of companies that are working on designs for flying cars in anticipation of a change in the transportation market from conventional cars to self-driving vehicles shared via ride-hailing apps, Reuters reported.
“That would really make sense. If I drive from (the Porsche plant in) Zuffenhausen to Stuttgart airport, I need at least half an hour, if I’m lucky. Flying would take only three and a half minutes,” Von Platen told Automobilwoche, Reuters posted.
In last year's Geneva Auto Show, Volkswagen's auto designer Italdesign collaborated with Airbus to show the ‘Pop.Up’ flying car. The concept involved a car or automotive pod that could be picked up by an automated air drone and taken to its destination safely, similar to how militaries around the world use the Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter to transport large cargo.
As per Porsche’s plans, the magazine reported, though the passengers would be able to have some control over the flying vehicle themselves, they would not need a pilot’s license because many of the car’s functions would be automated.
Porsche would be competing with German start-ups Volocopter, backed by Daimler, Lilium Jet, and eVolo, and US-based Terrafugia and Joby Aviation who are already investing in the R&D for flying vehicles.
While flying cars may be closer to reality than previously thought, it will still be some time before we see them flying above city streets. Given that the vast majority of people do not have a pilot’s license and automated cars will need to become much more wide-spread.