The Star Wars universe of aerial freeways is going premium with sports car manufacturer Porsche now looking at the potential of high-end personal urban air mobility.
The car manufacturer has signed a memorandum of understanding with US aerospace giant Boeing to explore the urban air mobility market and build a prototype vehicle.
And judging by a rendering released Thursday by the companies, they’re not looking at another giant drone but the kind of sleek unit people will lust after.
The potential extension of urban traffic into airspace using electric vehicles has sparked widespread interest from companies ranging from Uber to Rolls-Royce and another famous automotive marque, Aston Martin.
A number of prototypes have already been built, although there is still a slew of issues to address such as airspace management.
Ride-sharing company Uber has selected three cities — Melbourne, Los Angeles and Dallas — and hopes to start flight tests in 2020 with plans for commercial operations in 2023.
A 2018 study by Porsche Consulting forecasts the urban air mobility market will pick up after 2025.
it predicted that flying vehicles will transport passengers more quickly and efficiently than conventional means of terrestrial transport and at a lower cost and with greater flexibility
Porsche says it is looking to enhance its scope as a sports car manufacturer and become a leading brand for “premium mobility”.
“In the longer term, this could mean moving into the third dimension of travel,” said Detlev von Platen, a member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG. “We are combining the strengths of two leading global companies to address a potential key market segment of the future.”
The partnership will see the companies create an international team to address various aspects of urban air mobility, including analysis of premium vehicles and their possible uses.
Boeing, Porsche and Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences are also developing a concept for a fully electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle.
The companies say engineers from both companies, as well as Porsche subsidiaries Porsche Engineering Services and Studio F.A. Porsche, will implement and test a prototype.