Luxury sports carmaker Porsche is considering the development of a flying passenger vehicle, according to the company’s sales chief Detlev von Platen in an interview with the German magazine Automobilwoche. Passengers would be able to use the cars without a pilot’s license, the magazine said, since most operations would be automated, but they could maintain some control.
Von Platen told Automobilwoche: “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.”
The sales chief also noted that Porsche would like to use the vehicle to enter the market for air taxis. That market technically doesn’t exist yet—but on-the-ground ride-sharing companies like Uber are already targeting it. Uber said it plans to begin testing urban air taxis in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Dubai in 2020. European aerospace company Airbus recently made an investment in a helicopter-hailing service and Boeing also acquired a company specializing in pilotless aircraft flight systems. All these moves suggest that, as science fiction as they seem, flying taxis may not be too far off (paywall).
Reuters points out that the auto designer of Volkswagen, Porsche’s parent company, revealed a conceptual flying car at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show called “Pop.Up.” The vehicle, pictured below and designed in conjunction with Airbus, is a two-seater designed specifically to bypass the gridlock of city roads—a problem that everyone from Silicon Valley to the luxury auto industry is clamoring to solve.