I’ve had a thing for flying cars for some time now. But when I mention it in the office, I get laughed at.
I’m telling you … they’re coming. The more I see (and I got to see a demo I’ll tell you about in a moment), the more I’m convinced they’re set to become part of the future of transportation — what I like to call Transportation 2.0.
If you just giggled at your screen or think flying cars are some wild idea that will never get off the ground, think again.
Morgan Stanley predicts that by 2040, the “urban aviation market” will hit $1.5 trillion, thanks to what are known as eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft. A big portion of that ($413 billion) will go to freight transportation, while $198 billion will be spent on related technologies and services – from autonomous control software to next-generation batteries. But get this. Some $851 billion will be spent on passenger vehicles — aka, flying cars.
If you live in or near a major city you know full well the hassle that daily traffic brings. It costs us needless time, money, and stress. I ride a scooter to work (at least in the warmer months), and while tech-forward taxi services from Uber (NYSE:UBER) and Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) are also a great convenience, they don’t really address the overall traffic congestion issues that still plague our cities.
Companies like Blade Air Mobility, Uber, and Voom offer on-demand helicopter transit in major urban areas like New York City. Thanks to new tech, data, and ridesharing, these companies have been able to reduce costs for customers from thousands down to hundreds of dollars.
But that’s just the steppingstone to a new generation of electric-powered and autonomous flying cars that are being designed to provide cheaper, safer transportation.
A Look Into the Future
I got an inspiring view into the future of flying cars at CES 2020 in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.
On the showroom floor, I saw a demonstration of a miniature version of private aerospace company Bell’s Nexus air taxi. You can check out the footage here:
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The Nexus has a 150-mile range, a top speed of 150 miles per hour, an augmented-reality flight experience, and six tilting ducted fans powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system. Having six propellers can reduce the noise associated with helicopters and provide safety backup in case one or more fails.
At Bell’s booth, I spoke with a company representative who said ride sharing via a flying car will be available within five to six years.
Believe it or not, instead of “Ubering” in some beat up Toyota Camry, you’ll be picked up in a flying vehicle.
I also checked out Hyundai’s (OTCMKTS:HYMTF) flying vehicle at CES. The company has plans to build eVTOL aircraft and deploy them through Uber’s air taxi network, which Uber hopes to get off the ground by 2023.
Hyundai’s Personal Air Vehicle will use two tiltrotors on the tail and 10 other rotors. It will take off vertically and have a cruising speed of 180 mph with a cruising altitude from 1,000 to 2,000 feet. Again, the multiple electric rotors will give off less noise than a traditional helicopter and require only five to seven minutes for recharging during peak hours with a range of 60 miles between charging.
Uber is all over this market. It has its own concept vehicle, and is partnering with Bell, Hyundai, and at least a half-dozen other aircraft companies that can meet its specifications for vertical takeoff and landing, electric-powered, and minimal noise.
Daimler (OTCMKTS:DDAIF) is partnering with mobility startup Volocopter to create a two-seat, 18-rotor air taxi. Porsche (OTCMKTS:POAHY) is working with Boeing (NYSE:BA) on air mobility vehicles. And Toyota (NYSE:TM) has invested $394 million into Joby Aviation.
Building the Flying Car Future
Aside from being really cool, flying cars have a lot of advantages over current transportation options like helicopters.
Better electric motor design can significantly lower fuel costs and is easier to maintain and service.
Advancements in autonomous flying, without the need for a pilot, can bring down operation costs and reduce pilot error. A Los Angeles-based startup, Skyryse, recently showed how it could modify a commercial helicopter to fly autonomously.
More advancements are needed to bring flying cars into reality, but I’m confident they will happen.
An air traffic control system that can allocate and manage the airspace, as well as certify airworthiness and pilot requirements for unmanned autonomous aerial systems, will be needed.
The physical infrastructure related to launching pads and more will also be necessary. That’s already happening as developers in major cities like Miami are building landing pads for eVTOL aircraft.
I told you flying cars were coming. And with so much at stake, I think they will follow electric and autonomous vehicles as the wave of the future — making savvy investors who get in early very happy in the coming years.
Matthew McCall left Wall Street to actually help investors — by getting them into the world’s biggest, most revolutionary trends BEFORE anyone else. The power of being “first” gave Matt’s readers the chance to bank +2,438% in Stamps.com (STMP), +1,523% in Ulta Beauty (ULTA) and +1,044% in Tesla (TSLA), just to name a few. Click here to see what Matt has up his sleeve now. Matt does not directly own the aforementioned securities.