Aston Martin unveils ‘sports car for the skies’ at airshow

July 18, 2018 | By | Reply More

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Aston Martin unveiled the Volante Vision Concept this week at the Farnborough Airshow.

Aston Martin is working on a new flying vehicle. (Reuters pic)

FARNBOROUGH: Aston Martin has come up with a futuristic personal aircraft it has dubbed “a sports car for the skies”.

Aston Martin unveiled the three-seater hybrid-electric vehicle this week at the Farnborough Airshow and, though the concept remains for now the stuff of science fiction, believes it could help one day to revolutionise travel.

The Volante Vision Concept design has vertical take-off and landing capabilities and will be able to hit speeds of around 322 kilometres per hour, “so you can go from the centre of Birmingham to the centre of London in about 30 minutes,” Aston Martin’s Simon Sproule told Reuters.

Aviation and technology leaders are working to make electric-powered flying taxis a reality, including Airbus, US ride-sharing firm Uber, and a range of start-ups, including one backed by Google co-founder Larry Page known as Kitty Hawk.

Aston Martin believes it could corner the market for luxury flying vehicles in the future.

“The same way that you have Uber and you have an Aston Martin, you’ll have ‘Uber in the skies’ and you’ll have ‘Aston Martin in the skies’,” said Sproule, adding that such an aircraft won’t come cheap.

“This is clearly a luxury object – it’s a sports car for the skies – so pricing is going to be commensurate with that, so certainly into the seven figures.”

The company has partnered with Cranfield University, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, and British jet engine maker Rolls-Royce to develop the concept vehicle, including artificial intelligence-powered autonomous capabilities.

“It feels like a fighter jet but at the same time it has the Aston Martin luxury,” said David Debney, chief of future aircraft concepts at Rolls-Royce.

Commenting on how to pilot the vehicle, Cranfield’s Helen Atkinson said: “You’ve got to detect what’s going on in the external environment and then turn that around incredibly quickly in the computer system with the artificial intelligence built in to actually achieve the necessary level of autonomy.”

Separately at Farnborough, Rolls-Royce unveiled plans for a flying taxi – an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle which could carry four to five people at speeds of up to 400 kilometres per hour for approximately 800 kilometres.

The company said it was starting a search for partners to help develop a project it hopes could take to the skies as soon as early next decade.

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