Volkswagen Looking into Flying Cars

Company executives are exploring possible partnerships — and concepts — in China.

Volkswagen is in the midst of a dramatic, expensive transformation into a maker of electric vehicles in the wake of stricter emissions requirements and the global scandal over its rigging of diesel systems.

But company executives are reportedly already looking beyond the shift to battery vehicles — and even beyond emerging self-driving technologies.

In a post on LinkedIn, CEO Herbert Diess and Stephan Woellenstein, the head of VW’s China operations, discussed how “vertical mobility” could be part of its future — that is, “flying cars.” 

The executives indicated the company is exploring possible partnerships — and vehicle concepts — for a drone that could be licensed as urban aerial transit becomes a reality.

Volkswagen said it is particularly interested in the technology in China, where VW has taken over a pair of automotive joint ventures as Beijing relaxed its requirements on foreign car makers. The world’s largest country — and car market — now accounts for the largest share of VW sales.

Flying cars, of course, have been a subject of the imagination for decades, but the possibility became more realistic as battery technology accelerated and a handful of startups and aerospace companies started building prototypes. Today, however, VW is far from alone among major automakers interested in the technology — some of its leading global rivals, including General Motors, Hyundai and Toyota, all hope to capitalize on the future of urban transit.

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