Aston Martin has unveiled a flying car concept at the Farnborough Airshow.

The Volante Vision Concept design is a joint effort between Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and Cranfield University, the latter of which also helped work on the Siemens autonomous Ford Mustang that drove itself up the Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb last week.

The vehicle has vertical take-off and landing capabilities, similar to a Harrier Jump Jet, making it suitable for urban and inter-city travel.

Billed as an ultra-luxurious form of personal transport, it has room for three adults and features an autonomous flight mode and a hybrid-electric powertrain.

Andy Palmer, president and chief executive of Aston Martin, said: “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 and the Volante Vision Concept is the ultimate luxury mobility solution.

“Humans have always spent on average one hour commuting to and from work, and 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.”

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.”

Paul Hutton, chief executive of Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, said: “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 to be at the vanguard of this revolution in aerospace.”

Rob Watson, director of Rolls-Royce Electrical, added: “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.”

Tristan Shale-Hester


July 17, 2018