As any motorists can attest, our cities are becoming increasingly congested, and we are spending more and more time in our cars trying to get to our destination. Just imagine if we could fly instead of drive (if we could afford it).
Last week, Aston Martin presented their Volante Vision Concept, a luxury concept aircraft with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities. Produced in partnership with Cranfield University, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and Rolls-Royce, the concept aircraft aims “to bring luxury personal transportation to the sky”.
With room for three adults, the concept is a ‘near future’ study that previews a flying autonomous hybrid-electric vehicle for urban and inter-city air travel, providing “fast, efficient and congestion-free luxurious travel”.
The Volante Vision Concept will take full advantage of the latest advances in aerospace, electrification and autonomous technologies, coupled with Aston Martin’s signature design.
This new concept unites some of the world’s best aerospace experts, propulsion specialists and designers.
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. 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. 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.
“With Aston Martin and our ‘dream team’ of British innovation across industry and academia, we are positioned to change the future of transportation, giving our customers a new dimension of freedom.”
Professor Iain Gray, Director of Aerospace at Cranfield University said: “We’re delighted to be part of this exciting and forward-thinking project that showcases British innovation and the way that Cranfield works with and supports business.
“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.”
Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) CEO Paul Hutton 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 so to be at the vanguard of this revolution in aerospace.”
Director, Rolls-Royce Electrical Rob Watson said: “We are delighted to be involved in the Volante Vision Concept, which showcases the best of British design and engineering. 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.”
As the designer of cars such as the Aston Martin DB11, the new Vantage, the DBS Superleggera and Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar project – Aston Martin EVP and Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman holds the key to the distinctive design language of the new Aston Martins.
“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” he says.
“We have used forms and proportions that express the same devotion to design, engineering and beauty that shape our cars.”