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Flying Cars to Takeoff Soon: UBER, GOOGL, INTC are Prototyping

Vidya Nair

The longstanding vision of flying cars is close to becoming a reality owing to a series of technological advancements and social trends, ranging from ridesharing, electric cars to autonomous vehicles and beyond.

According to insights provided by Deloitte, flying cars can revolutionize modern day transportation by creating a more integrated system that is faster and cleaner than traditional systems.

Although the development of flying cars is still in its early stages, some early entrants to this market such as Uber UBER and Airbus have been engaged in experimenting on related technologies.

In fact, many flying cars have already passed the design phase and are currently testing and prototyping.

Urban Mobility is Getting Revolutionized

Autonomous vehicle technology achieved rapid progress in 2019, with the launch of vehicles featuring Level-2 and Level-3 functionalities. In fact, Goldman Sachs believes that semi-autonomous cars (Level 4) are likely to be on road in the next 1-2 years.

While most industries are yet to come to grips with such automation in terrestrial mobility, advancements in flying cars and passenger drones are likely to add a whole new dimension to this landscape.   

Per a report from Silicon Valley Business Journal, Urban Air Mobility (UAM) space holds the potential to take away a sizable chunk of market share from both ground-based transportation networks and the helicopter industry.

Moreover, these next-gen vehicles are based on electric or hybrid-electric designs, with reduced or zero emissions. This makes them much more energy efficient than aviation vehicles.

Automotive, aerospace and technology companies are progressing rapidly with developing On Demand UAM, Air Taxis, Vertical Take Off & Landing (VTOL) and Electric Vertical Take Off & Landing (eVTOL) as well as fully autonomous air vehicles.  

In fact, most prototype flying cars being developed are capable of VTOL. However, before VTOLs can operate in any country, they will need to comply with regulations from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Nevertheless, Reportlinker highlights that there has been some movement by authorities that allows the technologies to be trialed.

Players Venturing Into Flying Cars Realm

Uber and Hyundai have collaborated for developing a network of air taxis as part of the “Uber Elevate” project. While, Hyundai will produce and deploy the eVTOL aircrafts, Uber will provide airspace support, ground operations as well as app support for booking flights. Commercial operations are likely to get launched in 2023.The vehicles will initially have a pilot and eventually go fully autonomous.

According to the Fortune, Uber is working with NASA and a several manufacturers, including Textron, Bell and Joby Aviation, for the flying car project.

Prototypes by Kitty Hawk, a flying car startup developed by Sebastian Thrun and Alphabet’s GOOGL Google, also holds a lot of promise. Currently in the testing phase, Kitty Hawk’s flying car models are being applauded for its sheer ultralight design.

Alphabet Inc. Price and Consensus

 

Alphabet Inc. Price and Consensus

 

Intel INTC is currently working on its Volocopter 2X’s design. According to a Digital trends report, Volocopter has been selected by Dubai for its upcoming air taxi fleet. The prototype Volocopter has displayed the 2X in Singapore in October 2019, by taking it on a two-minute flight.

Markedly, Intel and Toyota have also invested in Joby Aviation to develop an electric air taxi based on the VTOL concept.

Intel Corporation Price and Consensus

 

Intel Corporation Price and Consensus

 

According to an article by Forbes, Tesla TSLA is likely to make headway into the flying cars arena. CEO Elon Musk has plans to add thrusters to a new version of the Tesla Roadster car, thereby enabling the vehicle to fly.

Tesla, Inc. Price and Consensus

 

Tesla, Inc. Price and Consensus

 

Some other notable ventures in the flying cars arena are Project Vahana from Airbus, AeroMobil’s prototype and SureFly by Workhorse.

Although Amazon AMZN is currently not working on any flying car project, it is investing in drones for package delivery to improve efficiency in deliveries and internal logistics. As the company advances on this front, it is expected that it may venture into the flying cars arena as well.

Amazon.com, Inc. Price and Consensus

 

Amazon.com, Inc. Price and Consensus

 

Wrapping it up, we expect that the potential of flying cars, passenger drones and electric air taxis to run on lower operating and maintenance costs as well as pare road-based transportation issues will attract more funding in the forthcoming period.

Zacks Rank

While Alphabet and Tesla carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), Uber, Intel and Amazon have a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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