Volkswagen has become the latest major automaker to explore flying cars. The German vehicle manufacturer has announced that it is conducting a “feasibility study” into flying cars. They are joining a growing number of automakers that are looking into the potential technology. However, VW is focusing its efforts in the flying car space in China.
“Beyond autonomous driving the concept of vertical mobility could be a next step to take our mobility approach into the future, especially in the Chinese market,” the company said in a news release. “Therefore, we are investigating potential concepts and partners in a feasibility study to identify the possibility to industrialize this approach.”
A $1.5 Trillion Market?
Stephan Woellenstein, VW’s top executive in China, has previously said that the company wants to develop a drone that can be licensed. That would give VW a way to participate in the future market for flying cars and other aerial vehicles. China is the world’s largest automotive market. It also accounts for the biggest share of VW’s annual sales.
Volkswagen’s plans come as multiple companies, from start-ups to major automakers, race to develop commercial flying vehicles. It’s a market that investment bank Morgan Stanley has forecast could be worth $1.5 trillion by 2040.
In addition to Volkswagen, other companies like Airbus, Daimler, Joby, Lilium, Volocopter, and Intel are all exploring flying vehicles. Lilium is establishing its first U.S. hub near Orlando, Florida. That puts more than 20 million Floridians within range of its winged electric aircraft, which can take off vertically and cover nearly 200 miles per flight.