Boeing’s Flying Car Has Finally Taken Off
We’ve written extensively about the flying car, and the many companies, from aerospace giants to startups who are investing heavily in the future of transportation. However, we’re now very close to it being a reality, because this company has finally managed to give us a peek into the future of urban transportation.
Boeing Co., the company most famous for making military and commercial planes has finally unveiled that its flying car, designed to fly passengers over city streets and dodge skyscrapers has completed its first test flight. Its prototype, dubbed passenger air vehicle (PAV), managed to complete a controlled takeoff, hover and landing during the test conducted in Manassas, Virginia. Propelled by electricity, the model is designed for fully autonomous flight, with a range of as much as 50 miles (80km), Boeing said.
Boeing also reported that all future test flights will be focusing on forward, wing-borne flight, as well as the transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes. This transition phase between vertical and forward is the most engineering challenge for any high-speed Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft.
'In one year, we have progressed from a conceptual design to a flying prototype,' said Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop.
'Boeing's expertise and innovation have been critical in developing aviation as the world's safest and most efficient form of transportation, and we will continue to lead with a safe, innovative and responsible approach to new mobility solutions.'
Boeing’s push was boosted by a 2017 acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences, whose projects include a new flying taxi it is developing with Uber Technologies Inc. Aurora has flown over 30 unpiloted flights since its founding in 1989.
Arch rival Airbus SE are among a slew of companies racing to stake a claim on flying cars and parcel-hauling drones. Vahana, the self-piloting air taxi developed by A3, Airbus’s tech-centric Silicon Valley outpost, completed its first test flight last year.
AirSpaceX is another company with ambitions to take commuters to the skies. The Detroit-based start-up has promised to deploy 2,500 aircrafts in the 50 largest cities in the United States by 2026. AirSpaceX unveiled its latest prototype, Mobi-One, at the North American International Auto Show in early 2018. Like its closest rivals, the electric aircraft is designed to carry two to four passengers and is capable of vertical take-off and landing.
Others, like Intel Corp. and EHang Inc. are also testing their flying vehicles in a bid to be the market leader.
Morgan Stanley analysts estimates that the flying vehicle market and technology could lead to a $2.9 trillion industry by 2040, while their most pessimistic estimates pegs the value at about $615 billion.
What do you think about this move forward in the automotive industry? Leave a comment below!