An electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) Porsche may be possible with Boeing’s help.
World-class aircraft manufacturer Boeing and world-class sports car manufacturer Porsche will combine their expertise to create a brand in the aerial mobility industry targeted toward high-income individuals. The joint venture includes Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, which will assist in the design and prototyping of a luxury personal vehicle. As announced on October 10, the memorandum of understanding between Boeing and Porsche describes their plan to explore technologies for “premium personal urban air mobility vehicles.”
As part of the partnership, the companies will create an international team to address various aspects of urban air mobility, including analysis of the market potential for premium vehicles and possible use cases. Boeing, Porsche, and 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.
Since Boeing’s acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences in 2017, the two have been working together to develop and test various eVTOL prototypes, including the Passenger Air Vehicle (PAV) and the Cargo Air Vehicle (CAV).
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Boeing’s most recent iteration of the PAV made its first flight in Manassas, VA at the beginning of 2019, completing a takeoff, hover, and landing flight profile.
“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,” stated Detlev von Platen, member of the executive board for sales and marketing at Porsche AG, in a press release. “We are combining the strengths of two leading global companies to address a potential key market segment of the future.”
According to Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s innovation division, Boeing NeXt, the collaboration with Porsche “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. Porsche and Boeing together bring precision engineering, style, and innovation to accelerate urban air mobility worldwide.”
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Why it’s important: Much of the innovation and development in the aerial mobility industry has been geared toward commercial applications that will be leased or owned by operators. While the technology will ultimately grow fastest and see widespread use through commercialization, personal luxury vehicles have great potential to provide manufacturers with necessary revenue, through fewer high price tag sales, for expansion and further technological development. Aerial mobility may also benefit from a public acceptance standpoint if personal vehicles begin to enter the airspace prior to the high-volume operation of “airlines” such as Uber Air.
Source // Boeing