Imagine a world where instead of being trapped on the tube on your morning commute, you’re cruising through traffic in the sky – potentially zooming past the London Eye. Across the past year, Atheneum has seen an increased flow of projects focused on the possible reality of flying cars, with clients utilizing our resources and specialist market intelligence to determine that this may become the norm sooner than you think.
The technology has already been developed – the current opportunity is in commercializing practical use. Uber is investing in transporting passengers in the sky, aiming to equate the cost pool of four air passengers to that of an Uber-X today. ATI has developed a low-cost flying car that can be refueled at conventional fuel stations and is well suited for disaster relief operations or cargo transportation, set for sale in 2018. Amazon’s ‘Prime Air’ will deliver packages of up to 25 kilograms in under 30 minutes and given that 8% of Amazon’s products are below 25 Kg there is enormous commercial potential here.
Atheneum’s research has focused on the scalability question for small un-manned aerial systems and the practical needs that can be served. We have identified that regional Emergency services, Construction, Agricultural and Media applications will gain the most value from Flying Cars. These applications can not only help navigate the complexities of a novel industry, but also prove to be sound investments. Most recently, Atheneum provided its clients specialist market intelligence to understand the infrastructure investment costs of supporting wide spread use of Flying Cars in Europe. Many investment teams are also looking to understand the practical requirements related to ground infrastructure, airborne infrastructure, and the cost of changing current infrastructure. The case for investment is not always clear, which is where specialist insights can help fast track potential investment decisions.
The main barrier to widespread use of flying cars is current regulation. Atheneum Expert CEO of Flock, Ed Klinger, outlined as part of a recent study, that Technology advances lead to Regulation following the cautious approach that Governments needs to apply. In many cases the regulators review the risk profile of a newly introduced technology to the public as proportional to the population density of the area involved and in many cases special permission is required for flying vehicles more than 150Kg.
Although we may not yet be living in an era of flying cars, there are clear use cases for drone technology, which demonstrate its economic and environmental impact.
Interesting fact: The use of Cable Cars reduces commuting times as well as clutter and traffic pollution. Mexico City allows the Mexicable Cable Car to carry 18,000 people a day and the trip takes only 19 minutes compared to the exact same trip which takes 80 minutes by bus. Perhaps it’s time to lose the cables?