By Robin Lineberger, Aijaz Hussain, Siddhant Mehra & Derek M. Pankratz (Deloitte),
A century ago, aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss debuted the Autoplane, a three-seat car-cum-aircraft with removable wings.2 Ever since, automobile and aviation enthusiasts have been dreaming of “flying cars.” Flying can replace driving in cities around the globe, saving people's time as trips that take hours on the ground can be reduced to minutes in the air, improving productivity and quality of life. After decades of failed projects and false starts, we may now be on the threshold of this vision becoming a practical reality.
This new class of vehicles is emerging in the midst of an already dramatic transformation in the way people and goods move around. Driven by a series of technological and social trends, from ridesharing and bikesharing to electric and autonomous vehicles and beyond, the future of mobility could ultimately create a more integrated transportation system that is faster, cheaper, cleaner, and safer than today’s.3 Even as players across a host of industries come to grips with these changes to terrestrial mobility, advances in flying cars could add, literally, an entirely new dimension to an already complex landscape.
Even as players across a host of industries come to grips with these changes to terrestrial mobility, advances in flying cars could add, literally, an entirely new dimension to an already complex landscape.
While we are early in this journey, market segments seem to be forming, some early entrants are experimenting, regulations are being formulated, and technology is developing. This study looks at the emerging market for personal mobility, exploring both the current state of the technology—including the rapid advances made in recent years—as well as the many hurdles that remain before flying cars become widely adopted. It also examines important questions related to the regulatory framework and supporting infrastructure. Finally, the study explores how widespread use of passenger drones could reshape urban mobility, and suggests some key steps players in aerospace and other industries can do now to prepare for this exciting possibility, as well as what disruptions to possibly expect.