The notion of flying taxis whisking people to and from various rooftops in major U.S. cities may sound absurd on its face, but a number of big name companies are actively researching the idea in the hopes of making it a reality. Most notably, Uber in late 2016 published a 100-page whitepaper which introduced us to Uber Elevate, a fledgling program designed to bring ride sharing to the sky. And far from some far-fledged R&D initiative designed to garner headlines, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recently said that flying taxis may only be 5-10 years away.
Uber, though, isn’t the only auto-oriented company taking a close look at flying car technologies. According to a new report from Reuters, Porsche executive Detlev von Platen recently said that the luxury automaker is also toying with the idea.
“That would make sense,” von Platen said in an interview with the German magazine Automobilwoche. “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.”
Interestingly enough, Reuters notes that “Volkswagen’s auto designer Italdesign and Airbus at last year’s Geneva auto show presented a two-seater flying car, called Pop.Up.”
Though just a concept — obviously — the aforementioned Pop.Up design showcases an incredibly futuristic and impressively modular vehicle that can seamlessly transition between four-wheel transport and quadcopter flight.
While something like the Pop.Up may not see the light of day for years — if ever — the larger takeaway is that a lot of big companies with money to spend are exploring ways to make automated flight for civilians a reality.