Porsche sales chief Detlev von Platen told a German magazine last week that he believes Porsche could and should develop a flying passenger car to compete with potential rivals in an as-yet-nonexistent market for urban flying taxi and ride-sharing services.
Chinese manufacturer Geely and Japan’s Toyota have already expressed interest in this potential future market, as have startups like Volocopter, Lilium Jet, eVolo, Terrafugia, and Joby Aviation. Italdesign and Airbus teamed for the Pop.Up concept unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show a year ago. Thus far, however, nobody has come even close to a production ready or cost effective design.
Porsche, and these others, are attempting to prepare for a day when the transportation market shifts away from conventional consumer-driven cars to a slew of self-driving ride-shared vehicles. In keeping with a Porsche tradition of driver focused design, however, von Platen says that the driver would be able to have at least some minimal control of their flying robot cars. The majority of the flying would be automated, dismissing the need for a pilot’s license, however.
“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 was quoted as saying in German magazine Automobilwoche.
I would be at least a little skeptical, however, because the last time Porsche tried to build a flying car, it didn’t end so well.