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Aston Martin takes to the skies

High as a kite: When the Volante Vision Concept’s three occupants are sky-high, they are encased by a cabin featuring lashings of light-burgundy leather and carbon-fibre.

Volante Vision Concept previews Aston Martin’s autonomous, hybrid-electric aircraft

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Aston Martin logo17 Jul 2018

ASTON MARTIN has partnered with three British companies to produce the innovative Volante Vision Concept, an autonomous light aircraft motivated by a hybrid-electric system from powertrain manufacturer Rolls-Royce plc.
 
The luxury car-maker also teamed with aerospace specialist Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and education institution Cranfield University for their expertise on the “near-future study”.
 
“Forms and proportions that express the same devotion to design, engineering and beauty that shape our cars” feature on the Volante Vision Concept, according to its designer, Aston Martin executive vice-president and chief creative officer Marek Reichman.
 
Significantly, the three-seat Volante Vision Concept includes vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities, meaning that, like a helicopter, it does not require a runaway to operate.
 
As such, Aston Martin president and chief executive officer Andy Palmer explained that the Volante Vision Concept attempts to solve the congestion problem on urban and inner-city roads and the mobility and pollution issues it causes.
 
“With the population in urban areas continuing to grow, congestion in towns and cities will become increasingly demanding,” he said. “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, the Volante Vision Concept is the ultimate luxury mobility solution.”
 
Mr Palmer added that personal aircrafts like the Volante Vision Concept will soon revolutionise the daily urban commute, allowing a reinterpretation of what a reasonable distance between home and work is.
 
“Humans have always spent, on average, one hour commuting to and from work,” he said. “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.”
 
Rolls-Royce Electrical director Rob Watson echoed this sentiment, saying that his company’s involvement in the Volante Vision Concept could be transformative for the next generation of low-emission aircrafts.
 
“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,” he said.
 
“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.”
 
Cranfield Aerospace Solutions chief executive officer Paul Hutton indicated that while the self-flying revolution is inevitable, it is now time to start developing the technology.
 
“The introduction of autonomous and electric propulsion technologies into new aircraft designs is both inevitable and challenging, and … we are excited to be playing this key role in the Volante Vision Concept and to be at the vanguard of this revolution in aerospace,” he said.

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