Despite carrying both Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce branding, the Volante Vision concept is not a flying car and is notably lacking wheels. Rather, the Volante Vision, freshly unveiled at the Farnborough air show in the U.K., is a concept for a vertical-takeoff three-seater micro aircraft. Aston described it as a “near future study that previews a flying autonomous hybrid-electric vehicle for urban and intercity air travel.”
Aston has provided the design for this stylish mini aircraft, while Cranfield University and Rolls-Royce (the aeronautical company, which is now unrelated to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars) have done the engineering. The concept uses a large electrically powered rear rotor as well as twin two-rotor units at the front that can be angled to vary the amount of lift and thrust they provide. Aston claimed the concept shows how the affluent will be able to beat traffic by flying much farther during a one-hour commute.
The concept doesn’t fly yet, but the technology behind it is serious and close to viability. Rolls-Royce also announced a future propulsion system at Farnborough: a flying taxi that could take to the skies as soon as the early 2020s, with an electrical Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) vehicle claimed to be capable of traveling at speeds up to 250 mph for 500 miles and using gas turbines to power its electrical propellers. Rolls-Royce, Airbus, and Siemens recently created a partnership to create an aircraft that uses both conventional jet engines and high-output electric motors.
None of these other projects, however, will have the style of a flying Aston Martin, with the design of the Volante Vision led by the company’s creative director, Marek Reichman. James Bond’s favored automaker has a distinguished history of being involved in non-automotive projects including a speedboat, several luxury yachts, and even a miniature submarine. So why not an aircraft, too?
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