Volkswagen owned sports car maker Porsche could develop a flying passenger vehicle 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.
“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,” Automobilwoche quoted von Platen as saying.
Volkswagen’s auto designer Italdesign and Airbus at last year’s Geneva auto show presented a two-seater flying car, called Pop.Up, designed to avoid gridlock on city roads.
The magazine said that under Porsche’s plans, passengers would be able to have some control over the flying vehicle themselves but would not need a pilot license because many of the car’s functions would be automated.
Potential competitors to a flying vehicle made by Porsche would be German start-ups Volocopter, backed by Daimler, Lilium Jet and eVolo, as well as U.S.-based Terrafugia and California-based Joby Aviation.
Earlier, Uber Technologies had announced that they will test a flying car in five years, pushing their target even further behind by two years for what is now being called the new frontier in mobility. “With battery technology radically improving in terms of size, power and storage capacity of batteries, we are now in the position for manufacturers to build vehicles that have multiple rotors that create a safe environment for vertical takeoffs,” Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer at Uber, said in an interaction with the media in New Delhi. “We think it will take five years or so for these vehicles to be available on a pilot basis.”
While the thought process behind a flying taxi by Porsche and Uber is right, it is far away from reality. Others working on a flying taxi prototype includes Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page, backing two flying car projects aside from Toyota Motor and Airbus who are betting big on similar projects.
With inputs from Reuters