For years, Aston Martin has been known for its sleek and stunning car designs. Their luxury models have been a sign of wealth and class for decades. This past week, Aston Martin took a huge step towards dominance and luxury in another form via the Aston Martin Volante Vision Concept. The new concept is not an automobile, but rather an aircraft.
At the biennial Farnborough International Airshow in London, England, Aston Martin unveiled its newest creation. The vehicle is designed to be an integral part in the future of urban transportation. It features room for three adults and can be flown completely on its own thanks in part to new technology developed at Cranfield University. The vehicle is considered to be a VOTL (vertical takeoff and landing vehicle) and was developed in collaboration with the University, as well as Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, and the aerospace company Rolls-Royce. It is said to be in the VOTL class due to its nature of takeoff, landing, and flight. The craft features a large central fan which allows it to take off and landing and then two propellers on the outside of the cockpit, which allow it to thrust forward through the air.
Rolls-Royce itself had already developed hybrid-electric systems, so applying those to the new VOTL for personal air mobility was the easy part. The largest contribution, which came from Aston Martin, was the design of the vehicle. Much of the design credit goes to Marek Reichman, the Chief Creative Officer for Aston Martin, who was also the designer of the Aston Martin DB11. The design mirrors the sci-fi and futuristic world and features sleek curves and a narrow body, much like a starfighter.
Despite the hype, the Aston Martin Volante Vision Concept is just that, a concept, at this point. Other companies around the world have proposed similar vertical takeoff and landing vehicles and are a bit further ahead on the curve. Take for instance the Uber Elevate; which up to this point, has already announced two launch cities and has a goal of operating flights starting in those cities in 2020. Meanwhile, Aston Martin’s VOTL has no production goals or timeline for implementation at the moment.
With the investment of many large corporations around the world, it is clear that VOTL’s may be the transportation of the future. In Aston Martin President and CEO Dr. Andy Palmer said: “With the population in urban areas continuing to grow, congestion in towns and cities will become increasingly demanding. We need to look at alternative solutions to reduce congestion, cut pollution and improve mobility.” As a company, Aston Martin firmly believes this concept is a step in the right direction and could be a future solution to this problem. Furthermore, Creative Director Reichman believes “We are at the beginning of a new generation of urban transportation, vertical mobility is no longer a fantasy. We have a unique chance to create a luxury concept aircraft that will represent the ultimate fusion of art and technology.”