At least 10 companies are expected to launch a flying car in the next five years. Frost & Sullivan sees “limited commercial applications of flying cars are a possibility by 2035,” thanks to advances in autonomous flying as well as vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) technologies.
“The flying cars industry is at a nascent stage where a number of companies are developing different models of flying cars, many of which are in the testing phase and expected to be launched by 2025,” said Frost & Sullivan Mobility Industry Analyst Joe Praveen Vijayakumar. “The arrival of Airbus, Google and Uber into the flying cars market is expected to infuse the much-needed momentum to make limited commercial applications of flying cars a possibility by 2035.”
Despite promising applications in recreation, military, air ambulance, police patrol and air taxi services, the market faces a number of challenges to mass commercialization, including takeoff and landing in urban areas, human error, safety, fuel efficiency, range, noise, security and air traffic control, according to Frost & Sullivan.
As the industry evolves, an array of new business services are expected, such as aerial sightseeing, air surveillance-as-a-service, aerial critical aid delivery, air taxi pay-per-ride and flying-car corporate lease. Various flying-car companies have adopted different strategies for growth and expansion:
- Ehang is developing a flying drone with VTOL and autonomous flying capabilities.
- Toyota has acquired a patent for “Aerocar,” a shape-shifting flying car, and also invested in Cartivator, a Japanese flying-car startup.
- Airbus, Carplane and Lillium are expected to release flying cars in the next five years.
- Pre-selling of PAL-V’s Liberty Pioneer flying car has begun, with delivery expected by 2018.
- Airbus self-flying aircraft Vahana is scheduled for production by 2021.
- Kitty Hawk is developing a flying car (pictured above) with investment from Google.
- Flying-car prototypes are being developed by AeroMobil and Terrafugia.
- Airbus, in collaboration with Italdesign, is developing autonomous systems for its Pop.Up flying car.
“VTOL capabilities, autonomous flying technologies and the development of fail-safe features will be imperative to inspire confidence in potential customers and overall acceptance of flying cars as vehicles for urban mobility,” noted Praveen. “Makers of flying cars must work with regulators to ensure that clearly defined and industry-friendly rules for flying car operations are passed.”