Boeing and Porsche announced Thursday they are joining forces to "explore the premium urban air mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace," through "a fully electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle."
The American aircraft giant and German automaker have not revealed any details about how much money or resources the two companies would invest in the project, or even a target date or price range, but for those hoping to one day own a flying car, the news is promising.
The two companies, which will establish an international team as part of the Memorandum of Understanding they signed, are also focusing on urban air mobility in general and looking into the market potential for premium flying vehicles.
The word ‘premium’ indicates that it will be a while before this type of flying vehicle will be available to the general public. Some companies have expressed interest in developing a network of electric flying taxis, though the expense may prove prohibitive for average consumers. Given the cost of designing an infrastructure to support electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, including landing pads and charging stations, these initiatives will likely be marketed only toward the very wealthy for the time being.
This luxurious aircraft is aimed at the richest of the rich. https://t.co/Qia3fQUKLg— Futurism (@futurism) October 11, 2019
Porsche's parent company, Volkswagen AG, (VLKAF) is currently the world's largest automaker. It has already committed to developing a fleet of electric vehicles, setting a goal of 22 million electric cars over the next 10 years. "We are combining the strengths of two leading global companies to address a potential key market segment of the future," says Detlev von Platen, a Porsche board member, who is responsible for sales and marketing. "In the longer term, this could mean moving into the third dimension of travel."
Boeing, which reached $100 billion in revenue for the first time in 2018, saw its sales dip this year after its bestselling commercial jet, the 737 Max, was grounded after experiencing two fatal accidents that resulted in 346 fatalities.
The company has revealed a prototype of a self-driving electric-powered flying car. "Porsche and Boeing (BA) together bring precision engineering, style and innovation to accelerate urban air mobility worldwide," said Steve Nordlund, general manager of Boeing NeXt, a division of the company that is developing next-generation vehicles and aircraft.
Reuters has reported that Boeing will compete with rival Airbus SE, which is testing its own VTOL vehicle. Larry Page-backed Kitty Hawk also recently showcased a single-person VTOL that's a hundred times quieter than a helicopter.