Aston Martin has developed an idea for a flying car - of sorts. The Warwickshire car maker has unveiled its Volante Vision Concept, which it says could deliver luxury personal air transportation.
It might be a nod to the future and is yet to become a reality but Aston Martin’s boss believes it could offer a realistic way of getting around that would avoid increasingly congested road networks and make commuting by air a breeze.
The ambitious idea is the result of a partnership between Aston Martin, Cranfield University, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and Rolls-Royce. The Volante Vision Concept is a luxury concept aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capabilities. With room for three adults, the concept is a near future study that previews a flying autonomous hybrid-electric vehicle for urban and inter-city air travel, providing fast, efficient and congestion free luxurious travel.
If it comes to fruition it will take full advantage of the latest advances in aerospace, electrification and autonomous technologies - coupled with Aston Martin’s signature design. The project has seen the world’s best aerospace experts, propulsion specialists and designers join forces. Aston Martin president and CEO Dr Andy Palmer said: “With the population in urban areas continuing to grow, congestion in towns and cities will become increasingly demanding. “
We need to look at alternative solutions to reduce congestion, cut pollution and improve mobility. “Air travel will be a crucial part in the future of transportation, the Volante Vision Concept is the ultimate luxury mobility solution.” He added: “Humans have always spent on average, one hour commuting to and from work.
“The distance we live from our workplace has been determined by the methods of transportation available. “The Volante Vision Concept will enable us to travel further with our hourly commute, meaning we are able to live further away from where we work.
“Cities will grow and towns that are today too far away from cities to be commutable will become suburban. “With Aston Martin and our dream team of British innovation across industry and academia, we are positioned to change the future of transportation, giving our customers a new dimension of freedom.”
Professor Iain Gray, director of aerospace at Cranfield University said: “The Volante Vision Concept exemplifies Cranfield’s unique capabilities in digital aviation, autonomous systems and the electrification of aerospace and is an excellent example of how the university combines cutting-edge research, academic rigour and real-world application.”
Cranfield Aerospace Solutions CEO Paul Hutton added: “The introduction of autonomous and electric propulsion technologies into new aircraft designs is both inevitable and challenging, and as the UK’s leading aircraft design and production SME we are excited to be playing this key role in the Volante Vision Concept and so to be at the vanguard of this revolution in aerospace.”
Rolls-Royce Electrical director Rob Watson said: “Rolls-Royce has already delivered hybrid-electric systems for other applications including ships and trains and we’re very excited about the potential of the technology in aerospace. “This is a great opportunity to collaborate on a pioneering project which will use high performance hybrid-electric propulsion technologies for personal air mobility concepts that could transform the future of transportation.”
Aston Martin EVP and chief creative officer Marek Reichman added: “We are at the beginning of a new generation of urban transportation, vertical mobility is no longer a fantasy. “We have a unique chance to create a luxury concept aircraft that will represent the ultimate fusion of art and technology.”