Porsche and Boeing signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore what they consider the market for urban air mobility (UAM). As part of the partnership, the companies will create an international team to gather insight on new mobility applications.
Besides, the newly formed unit for urban air mobility such as flying taxis is to address various aspects of the field, including analysis of the market potential for premium vehicles and possible use cases in particular. Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG, considers this “the third dimension of travel” that Porsche might move into in future. This is also with a view of the carmaker becoming a “premium mobility brand,” von Platen added. In turn, for Steve Nordlund, Vice President and General Manager Boeing NeXt, this partnership provides “an opportunity to investigate the development of a premium urban air mobility vehicle with a leading automotive brand”.
Apart from theory and insights, Porsche and Boeing are preparing more concrete measures. Together with Aurora Flight Sciences, a subsidiary of Boeing, the partners are developing a concept for a fully electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (VTOL). Engineers from both companies, as well as Porsche subsidiaries Porsche Engineering Services GmbH and Studio F.A. Porsche, will implement and test a prototype.
Boeing is just one of a whole spate of companies pursuing some form of urban air taxi service with VTOLs. Take another VW brand, Audi, that has been looking into urban air mobility, albeit with Boeing competitor Airbus. The companies recently presented the air taxi CityAirbus in Ingolstadt.
Also, a 2018 study by Porsche Consulting forecasts that the UAM market will pick up speed after 2025. The research indicates that flying cabs will transport passengers more quickly and efficiently than current conventional means of terrestrial transport, at a lower cost and with greater flexibility.
Indeed, ride-hailing specialists such as Uber are working develop a network of flying taxis through the company’s forthcoming Uber Elevate now dubbed Uber Air. The unit recently selected Australia as the first “international market” for its planned e-flight taxi service. Melbourne is the third city to pilot the program following Dallas and Los Angeles. Test flights are scheduled to start next year and commercial operations from 2023.
Porsche and Boeing did not provide a schedule for the launch of an urban air taxi.
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