General Motors Interested in Exploring Possibility of Flying Cars

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【Summary】If true, the U.S. automaker would become one of the first traditional automotive brands to set its sights on taking automobiles to the sky.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Oct 26, 2020 8:00 AM PT
General Motors Interested in Exploring Possibility of Flying Cars

Flying taxis are just starting to take off, literally. More and more automakers are looking toward unveiling flying taxis to get people around in congested cities where cars simply don't have the same appeal as they once did. Hyundai and Uber partnered at the beginning of the year to unveil plans for a flying taxi, while companies like Airbus, Moog, Porsche, as Boeing are all looking into going airborne, too. According to a report by Reuters, another company is looking to enter the flying taxi scene — General Motors.

GM Throw Its Hat Into The Ring

Reuters' report claims that General Motors is exploring the prospect of coming out with an aerial taxi program. The plan is a way for the automaker to find new areas for growth in the transportation market, claim two unnamed sources that are familiar with the plan.

GM's CEO Mary Barbra stated that flying taxis would fit nicely in the automaker's development plans for electric vehicles, which includes its Ultium batteries.

"We believe strongly in our EV future and not just for vehicles," said Bara in an RBC conference. "The strength and flexibility of our Ultium battery system opens doors" for many uses, adding, "including aerial mobility."

If GM were to introduce a flying taxi program, it would most likely go down the route of using a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, which use electric motors instead of jet engines. Additionally, VTOLs are capable of landing and taking-off vertically without a runway. They're the prime vehicles for low-level routes and, as Reuters points out, could alleviate automobile congestion.

"It's an area we're really excited about and looking at," said GM spokesman Stuart Fowle.

Flying Taxis Are Taking Off

VTOL programs are quickly becoming popular, as traditional automakers, ride-sharing companies, and aerospace companies are looking upwards as the next roads of the sky. Interestingly, this isn't the first time GM has thrown out the idea of a flying car. As The Detroit Free Press points out, GM's Mike Abelson, Vice President of Global Strategy, held talks with "air taxi" companies on leveraging the automaker's autonomous and EV technology to introduce flying cars in 2018. Now, it looks like Bara is ready to make the program an actual thing.

The flying-air taxi segment is about to explode, despite any indication that flying taxis are ready to take off. Reuters, citing information from PitchBox that reveals investors have placed approximately $2.3 billion into roughly 100 startups. Everything from flying electric taxis and drones have been exciting prospects for investors to pour money into.

Corporate adviser Evangelos Simoudis, managing director of Synapse Partners, believes that delivery drones from companies like Amazon and Walmart will come to market before flying taxis are introduced. Transporting people takes a lot longer to develop than transporting packages. "I am not surprised that GM and others are looking into this," said Simoudis.

GM is looking to transform itself from a traditional automaker to a high-tech one, like a lot of over automakers. Electric vehicles, autonomous cars, and flying taxis are all part of the plan to do just that

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