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Porsche & Boeing to Develop VTOL Aircraft for Premium Urban Air Travel

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【Summary】German automaker Porsche and aviation giant Boeing signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the premium air mobility market, including vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that may one day quickly whisk people over urban traffic.

FutureCar Staff    Oct 10, 2019 10:15 AM PT
Porsche & Boeing to Develop VTOL Aircraft for Premium Urban Air Travel

Although much of the auto industry is focused on self-driving cars and other mobility services to help ease congestion on the ground, some companies are looking to the skies for the next generation of transportation.

German automaker Porsche and aviation giant Boeing signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the premium air mobility market, including vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that may one day quickly whisk people over urban traffic.

Both Porsche and Boeing will leverage their strengths for developing personal urban air mobility vehicles. The two companies are putting together an international team of experts to study the market potential for VTOL air travel in urban areas. 

"This collaboration builds on our efforts to develop a safe and efficient new mobility ecosystem, and provides an opportunity to investigate the development of a premium urban air mobility vehicle with a leading automotive brand," said Steve Nordlund, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing NeXt.  "Porsche and Boeing together bring precision engineering, style and innovation to accelerate urban air mobility worldwide."

Boeing and Porsche, along with Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, are also developing a concept for a fully electric VTOL aircraft. Engineers from both companies, as well as Porsche subsidiaries Porsche Engineering Services GmbH and Studio F.A. Porsche, will implement and test a prototype.

"Porsche is looking to enhance its scope as a sports car manufacturer by becoming a leading brand for premium mobility. In the longer term, this could mean moving into the third dimension of travel," says Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG. "We are combining the strengths of two leading global companies to address a potential key market segment of the future."

pic-liliium--2-.jpg

A concept VTOL aircraft designed by German aviation startup Lilium GmbH.

Most of the electric VTOL vehicles under development are designed to fit between 1 to 4 passengers and can either be piloted or fly autonomously. The battery-powered motors are relatively quiet and the aircracft can lift off from a building's rooftop like a drone. Smaller versions, or drones designed to carry packages are also under development by Amazon and UPS to solve last mile delivery challenges.

Boeing is a strong industry partner for Porsche. It's the world's largest aerospace company with 150,000 employees. The Seattle-based company is the leading provider of commercial jets worldwide. Boeing also builds rockets, satellites, telecommunications equipment for customers in more than 150 countries. 

Porsche and Boeing are joining a handful of other aviation startups that are racing to develop electric VTOL aircraft including Kitty Hawk, backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, Lilium, which is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent, California-based Joby Aviation, Chinese company EHang and ride-hailing company Uber, which plans to add urban air travel as an option on its platform.

The global urban air mobility market is expected to generate $5 billion in 2023 and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 26.19% during 2023-2035, according to a May 2019 study by Research and Markets. North America is expected to lead the global urban air mobility market in 2023 with the United States acquiring the most significant market share globally, according to the study.

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