The big picture: The number of companies that have some form of flying vehicle planned or in development is huge. Now, British luxury sports car maker Aston Martin is joining the party. Revealed at the UK’s Farnborough Airshow, the Volante Vision Concept is described as "an exciting alternative transportation solution for customers across the globe."
As the name suggests, the craft is still at the concept stage, but Aston Martin says it could become a future product. The company teamed up with Rolls-Royce’s aircraft engine division, Cranfield University, and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions for the vehicle, which was designed by Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s Chief Creative Officer and studio head.
The hybrid-electric craft will use the same vertical take-off and landing system (VTOL) found in similar flying vehicles, such as this one from Lilium. Aston Martin envisions it being used for urban and inner-city air travel, providing a fast, efficient, and congestion-free alternative to road vehicles, though it would also be capable of long-distance journeys.
“The study would lead us to a craft that would be able to do London to Paris non-stop in about an hour. As the crow flies that’s about 200-250 miles, at a speed of about 200mph. Birmingham to London could be done in half an hour,” Aston Martin’s vice president and chief marketing officer, Simon Sproule, told Auto Express.
Like many other flying vehicles in development, Aston Martin’s three-seater craft will have autonomous capabilities, allowing those without flying experience to set a destination and enjoy the ride. It would also work with existing helicopter infrastructure, so there would be no need to build new landing pads.
No word on when the Volante Vision Concept might arrive, assuming it ever does, but with Audi, Porsche, Mercedes, Uber, Airbus, and many more working toward a future filled with flying cars, it’s safe to assume that Aston Martin doesn’t want to be left stuck on the ground.