Drones and Urban Air Mobility: Porsche Teams up with Boeing to Explore a Flying Car

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In a continuing exploration of the concept of a flying car,  Boeing has signed a letter of agreement to explore joint relationships with luxury car manufacturer Porsche.  Here is a concept video published by World News that shows some idea of what that might ultimately look like.

Flying cars – or drone taxis- aren’t brand new, but the technology is maturing and they appear to be getting closer to widescale commercial use.   eHang was an early entrant into the field, and has announced plans to provide a flying drone service in China: Dubai already operates a drone taxi service.  Urban air mobility – a hot topic this year – is related, with Amsterdam hosting a UAM focused conference and cities throughout Europe and the U.S. engaging in discussion of how transit systems might move up, rather than out, solving some of the world’s worst traffic problems.

With Boeing and Porsche working together, it’s unclear if the result would be a fleet of drones – something that would play to Boeing’s strengths – or a luxury model flying sports car, which is what Porsche’s expertise would indicate.

Either way, says Dean Donovan in Forbes:

There will be a flying sports car market for individuals who wish to fly (and drive) the vehicle themselves.  Terrafugia, FLUTR, AeroMobil, and PAL-V have vehicles in process targeting this market. These flying cars have list prices starting at $200,000 and can cost more than $600,000. Flying sports cars could change travel patterns to vacation homes or eventually even work in certain circumstances. They will probably represent an offshoot of the supercar market or the very top end of the car market…

Fleet models can drive the cost to enter the UAM market much lower than the alternatives and thereby stimulate the market. Instead of paying $200,000 plus up front for a vehicle, wealthy individuals could pay a reasonable cost per trip.”

That’s at the top end of the line – but there is also hope that some of us ordinary mortals will be able to pile in to an Uber drone and fly home, without needing to mortgage the house.


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