US aircraft giant Boeing and German carmaker Porsche think a flying car could be the future of transportation. Both companies will work together on a “premium urban” air vehicle. The two firms are designing a concept for a fully electric vehicle that can take off and land vertically.
The ultimate goal is to develop an actual prototype of a flying car. Boeing and Porsche will implement and test a prototype in the near future. Both companies are keen to explore the premium urban air mobility market with a flying car. Porsche expects the urban air mobility market will take off after 2025.
Neither Boeing or Porsche are the first companies to venture into the urban air mobility market with a flying car. Uber at its Elevate summit last year showed its “flying car” concept aircraft. The company hopes the flying cars will be introduced in the market in the next two to three years. In the beginning, the flying cars will be piloted, but the company aims for flying electric vehicles to fly automated.
Apart from Uber, a German start-up called Lilium also see the future in flying cars. It has developed a five-seater-jet powered flying car that has 36 engines that allow it to take off vertically, and has a top speed of 300km/hour. The company aims to fly the Lilium jet in cities worldwide in 2025. German air taxi startup successfully conducted a test flight of its vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) earlier this year.
Vodafone, too, is eyeing this space closely. The telecom giant recently signed a deal with a Chinese flying car company as it aims to develop an air traffic control system for air taxis.
However, flying cars pose numerous engineering and regulatory challenges. Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad recently expressed criticism over the commercial use of flying cars in its country. He said there are safety issues that need to be addressed before air taxi companies start putting flying taxis on the sky.