The pinnacle of future technology: the flying car. Many pieces of science fiction feature this staple, and it’s easy to understand why. With it, dealing with traffic would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it seems that flying cars are exactly that: fiction. Unless you have the money to afford an Aston Martin.

Credit: Aston Martin

The luxury British car brand recently revealed the Volante Vision Concept, a functional prototype of a flying car. Featuring the vertical landing and takeoff of a helicopter, the hybrid vehicle can also be driven on road. Of course, you’re not the one driving–as the car is autonomous. It can handle up to three passengers at a time.

While the concept is functional to a degree, it’ll be a while before it’s road (or sky) ready. Spokesman Matthew Clarke said, “the concept is intended to demonstrate new technologies, materials, and elegant forms- it is a design and R&D study, but we are considering routes to production as part of the design.” The earliest the Volante Vision would be available to the public would be sometime next decade. And that’s if you can get past the potential $9.3 million price tag.

Then again, Aston Martin is a luxury brand. The style of the Volante Vision is classic and retro, despite the technology at play. You wouldn’t think twice if it showed up in a James Bond movie (especially as 007 has famously driven the brand for years). The car itself features two small propellers towards the front and a larger one at the rear, giving it the appearance of an oversized drone. Rolls-Royce (the engine maker, not the car manufacturer) is among the partners.

Said Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer, “with the population in urban areas continuing to grow, congestion in towns and cities will grow increasingly demanding. We need to look at alternative solutions to reduce congestion, cut pollution, and improve mobility. Air travel will be a crucial part in the future of transportation; the Volante Vision Concept is the ultimate luxury mobility solution.”

Admittedly, he’s not the first to come up with the idea: both Airbus and Rolls-Royce’s own EVTOL have unveiled flying taxis, not unlike the Volante Vision. The VV just happens to be the highest-end of the concept. It’s not an unexpected development either. Aston Martin already has a share of both the luxury car and miniature submarine market, so why not capitalize on the sky as well?

It should be noted that this differs from the usual fare of Aston Martin in another way: purpose. To a degree, you own one of their vehicles to flaunt your money. The Volante Vision Concept is a way of combating congestion, which is especially bad in the company’s native England. “[The vehicle] will enable us to travel further with our hourly commute, meaning we are able to live further away from where we work,” said Palmer. Or it could prevent said commute from lasting a full hour. The sky, no pun intended, is the limit.

Image credit: Aston Martin

Palmer has also gone on record saying that “air travel will be a crucial part in the future of transportation.” There’s truth in that statement, regardless of whether you agree with his overall philosophy. Travel by water isn’t an option for inland destinations and roads can be slow and sometimes dangerous. The sky, on the other hand, is an untapped domain for travel, as airplanes would fly much higher than any cars would. Even if it begins as the domain of the rich, the same was true for the first cars as well.

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