USA – U.S based aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co has said that it was working with Porsche, a Volkswagen’s sports car brand, to develop a concept electric flying vehicle capable of transporting people in urban settings.
Boeing is already in a stiff competing with Europe based arch-rival Airbus SE and other companies in a race to introduce small self-flying vehicles capable of vertical take-off and landing.
Earlier this year, the aircraft manufacturer conducted an inaugural test flight of an aerial car prototype that could accommodate two to four passengers and fly up to 50 miles.
The test flight was within months of Airbus showcasing a prototype of an autonomous passenger vehicle in partnership with Volkswagen’s premium brand, Audi, that can both fly and drive.
Porsche has been aiming to build flying cars that can be used as taxis and for ride-sharing purposes.
Boeing revealed that as part of the deal, the two companies will analyse the market potential for premium aerial vehicles and their possible use in highly populated cities and metropolises, the companies said.
The partnership comes at a crucial time for both Volkswagen and Boeing who are both suffering from negative publicity.
The German carmaker is trying to build its brand image following a diesel emissions scandal that has costed the car manufacturer over US$33.6 billion in around the world in fines, compensation and legal costs since the scandal first came to light in September 2015.
Boeing on the other hand has been struggling to recover from its worst crisis of recent times which led to the grounding of the 737 MAX planes which are the airline’s bestselling Jets.
The planes were grounded after two fatal clashes, one involving the Lion Air Flight 610 crash in October 2018 and the other involving Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash in March this year.
The crashes have been largely associated with the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software update that was designed for the 737 MAX to enhance the pitch stability of the airplane.
The MCAS however erroneously pushed the plane’s nose down whenever it a single Angle of Attack (AOA) server send a signal that it was in danger of going to a stall.
Boeing has since offered $100 million over several years as an “initial outreach” to support the families of victims and others affected and hired high-profile mediator Kenneth Feinberg to distribute it.
It however faces various lawsuits which Bloomberg estimates could cost the company up to US$1 billion in fines, compensations and lawsuit fees.