“Mark my words. A combination of airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile. But it will come.”—Henry Ford, 1940

Almost after eight decades of Ford’s prediction, the science fiction of flying car is changing into reality. More than a dozen of companies across the globe at present are actively involved in the making of flying car.

These cars are predicted to be commercially available in the near term as they are already hovering in the sky for the final stages of testing.

Recent Activity Witnessed in the Air
Airbus This France based airlines company under the project Vahana had first ever successful flight of air vehicle in late January this year
Aurora Flight Sciences Boeing acquired Aurora partnered with Uber in the development of flying car. With Electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) technology—an indispensable technology that aids flying cars to overcome dependence on

an airstrip to take off and land. It plans to deliver 50 aircraft to UberAir by 2020.

Ehang China based Ehang 184—self-flying passenger drone—was successfully tested in 2016 in Dubai. It will immediately come in operation in this Gulf nation if permitted by government authorities

Increasing traffic congestion and environmental concerns are prime reasons to push the demand for this new mode of mobility—flying cars.

For instance, in the US alone, drivers spend an average of 42 hours stuck in traffic each year and waste an average of 19 gallons of gasoline, which translates to a loss of $960 per commuter per year. It means a single driver in the US is responsible for emitting almost 380 pounds of carbon dioxide in the environment a year.

As per the Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emission and Sinks, transportation contributes to 27% of the total GHGs emission in the US. And almost similar is the situation in China where transportation is responsible for 27% of carbon dioxide emission related to energy.

In view of this, the significance of flying car is growing across the globe since they operate on green energy fuel ensuring zero emission.

Moreover, the invention of flying cars with VTOL technology will also reduce deforestation as the technology aids flying cars to overcome dependence on an airstrip to take off and land, thereby allowing them to be operated in most congested urban areas.

As a result, startups along with established tech giants are investing heavily in the development of helicopter prototypes that have VTOL technology. The technology is featuring as promising solution to address the increasing challenge of urban mobility.

Companies interested in VTOL technology
Google The company has spent US $100 million on flying car startups like Zee.Aero. This startup is a division of Kitty Hawk, a flying vehicle that can fly and land on water.
Lilium Jet It has successfully tested the flight of electric VTOL two-seater jet. It recently raised US $90 million and aims to develop five-seater jet that will be used by ride-hailing services.
AeroMobil This flying carmaker with VTOL technology has started accepting pre-orders and aims to ship it by 2020
XTI Aircraft The company has recently sold 60 pre-orders of its newly developed six-seater VTOL technology-based aircraft.

Flying car is also predicted to lower travel times which is a key concern of urban mobility. According to a study, flying vehicle can cut travel time by 40% and fares by up to 80%.

Due to this the demand for flying car is estimated to rise further over the course of time especially with the rise of global millionaires. By 2020, the number of dollar millionaires is expected to rise by over 46%.

Hence, with the commercialization of flying car, the market of currently existing road-based transportation system is expected to be disrupted in near future. It is because this flying vehicle can be applied in multiple areas such as personal use, police patrolling, military, emergency response—disaster, rescue and ambulance services—air taxi, recreation, etc. ensuring environment and addressing global concern on urban mobility—rising traffic congestion.

For more information on “Future of Flying Cars, 2017–2035” please visit https://store.frost.com/future-of-flying-cars-2017-2035.html

Subarna Poudel is a researcher with Frost & Sullivan. He can be reached at subarna.poudel@frost.com

Sapan Agarwal drives content and marketing for Frost & Sullivan. Sapan is based out of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and can be reached at sapan.agarwal@frost.com | +603 6204 5830