The question is what kind of winged-and-wheeled machine we could expect. Reuters characterized von Platen's interview with a German publication as interest in "a flying passenger vehicle" that would serve a "possible market for urban air taxis and ride-sharing services." The executive referred to city congestion around the world and at home, saying he could get from the carmaker's plant in Zuffenhausen to the Stuttgart airport in under four minutes by air, instead of 30 ground-based minutes. A commercial flying Uber with a Porsche badge sounds counterintuitive, though. A Porsche minvan with wings is still a minivan.
Von Platen told Roadshow that the brand's interest actually lies in a "flying sports car." This sounds more appetizing — a personal possession adhering to Porsche values on the ground, that doubles as a nearly autonomous flying vehicle "able to fly on its own completely from A to B, but also enabling the passenger or pilot to take control for a certain amount of time, if it stays within its [performance] envelope."
We're probably 10 years away from seeing anything provable, but it's time to consider that one or more carmakers will crack all the codes — fiscal, municipal, safety — eventually. Last year Italdesign and Airbus collaborated on the Pop.Up that they displayed at the Geneva Motor Show, and this year Audi joined the duo to reveal the Pop.Up Next (pictured) in Geneva. Daimler invested in Volocopter, a German start-up working on a five-seater electric taxi copter, and Geely bought U.S. flying car maker Terrafugia.
As Porsche's North American CEO explained, "Urban environments are jam-packed. We need to find answers to that problem, and one answer is the third dimension."