Uber Air flying taxi service to be trialled in Melbourne
Telstra, Macquarie, Westfield-operator Scentre Group, and Melbourne Airport to help the Silicon Valley darling launch a third Uber Air pilot city and the first outside of the United States.
German sports car maker Porsche and US aircraft manufacturer Boeing are teaming up to assess whether they can bring the dream, or nightmare, of a flying car to reality.
The two companies announced this week that they’re planning to make a concept vehicle with a “fully electric” vertical takeoff and landing (EVTOL) capability.
The companies have created a mockup of a vehicle that looks like a sleeker version of the Batmobile from The Dark Knight Rises – exactly what you might expect from Porsche designers.
The project will involve engineers from Boeing, Porsche, and Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, which makes unmanned aerial vehicles. The companies are exploring whether there’s a market for premium vehicles.
Boeing has a bit of a head start already. Aurora Flight Sciences in January completed its first test flight of an autonomous air vehicle. However, that looked more like a traditional aircraft.
Boeing’s NeXt unit heads up the company’s ‘urban air mobility’ projects and used Aurora Flight Sciences to develop the EVTOL vehicle.
Existing flying car rivals include Google co-founder Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk, which has been granted approval to test its Cora autonomous flying vehicles in New Zealand.
There is also NFT, a startup that recently unveiled its SUV-sized Aska vehicle that can drive on the road and fly. NFT plans to start selling its vehicles in 2025.
“This collaboration builds on our efforts to develop a safe and efficient new mobility ecosystem, and provides an opportunity to investigate the development of a premium urban air mobility vehicle with a leading automotive brand,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt.
“Porsche and Boeing together bring precision engineering, style and innovation to accelerate urban air mobility worldwide.”
While Jetson-style flying cars seem far-fetched and face numerous safety obstacles, consulting firms are pretty upbeat about their potential.
Deloitte predicts sales will start slowly in the US, but by 2025 it expects EVTOL vehicles sales to reach $3.4bn. Porsche Consulting, which provides services to the aviation industry, expects EVTOL sales to pick up by 2025.