Volkswagen has joined the league of companies looking into the technology of flying cars as it revealed,on Tuesday, that itis conducting a feasibility study in China about flying cars.
The German automaker said in a statement that it is looking beyond autonomous driving and is now considering “vertical mobility.”
In an interview with Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess on Linkedin, the carmaker’s China head Stephan Woellenstein said the company wanted to develop a drone that could be licensed, giving it a way to participate in this future market.
China is the world’s biggest autos market, and also accounts for the largest part of Volkswagen’s sales.
The news comes as companies from start-ups to other global carmakers are racing to develop commercial “robo-taxis”, hoping to cash in on a market Morgan Stanley says could be worth $1.5 trillion by 2040.
In addition to big players such as Volkswagen and Airbus, groups including U.S.-based Joby, Germany’s Lilium, and Volocopter, whose financial backers include Daimler and Intel, are pursuing such plans.
Munich-based Lilium said in November it would set up its first U.S. hub near Orlando, putting more than 20 million Floridians within range of its winged electric aircraft that can take off vertically and cover 300 km (185 miles).