Latest Aston tie-up sets the imagination soaring

Latest Aston tie-up sets the imagination soaring


HERE at Madam Wheels, we’re quite partial to flights of fancy. So when British luxury brand Aston Martin revealed its latest non-car related collaboration, we couldn’t help but get a bit excited about what the future might hold. Especially as it would make residing in the Southern Highlands or the Mornington Peninsula a real possibility for workers in Sydney and Melbourne respectively.

‘Rapid population growth and the congestion it’s causing in towns and cities globally has heightened the need to find better ways to spread the population load, reduce pollution and improve the way we get around.’

In a creation that looks part car, part drone, Aston Martin today offered up the Volante Vision Concept as an early version of what a luxury concept aircraft could look like.

With vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities, the Volante Vision Concept would fly autonomously, apparently, using a hybrid-electric engine designed to offer luxuriously fast, efficient and congestion-free travel for up to three adults around town. It’s not clear from the supplied images if there’s space for luggage, however, or where one’s Hermès Birkin might be safely sequestered. No doubt some thought has been given to such things.

The Volante Vision collaboration couples Aston Martin’s design aesthetic with the latest advances in aerospace, electrification and autonomous technologies from Cranfield University, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and Rolls-Royce.

Aston Martin President and CEO Andy Palmer says rapid population growth and the ensuing congestion in towns and cities globally has heightened the need to find better ways to spread the population load, reduce pollution and improve the way we get around. 

With the average commute to and from work taking one hour, Palmer says air travel will get us further, faster, enabling us to live greater distances away from our places of work.

“Cities will grow, and towns that are today too far away from cities to be commutable will become suburban,” Palmer says. 

Rob Watson, a director at Rolls-Royce Electrical, says his company, having already delivered hybrid-electric systems in ships and trains, was excited about the potential of the technology in aerospace. 

"This is a great opportunity to collaborate on a pioneering project which will use high-performance hybrid-electric propulsion technologies for personal air mobility concepts that could transform the future of transportation,” Watson says.

Aston Martin has previously worked its technology smarts into collaborations involving boats, buildings, furniture, even submarines.

Knowing that urban transportation was moving into a new generation, Aston Martin Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman again drew on the company’s devotion to design, engineering and beauty that shapes its cars to craft the look and feel of the Volante Vision Concept.

“Vertical mobility is no longer a fantasy,” Reichman says. “We have a unique chance to create a luxury concept aircraft that will represent the ultimate fusion of art and technology.”

Which sounds utterly delightful. If nothing else, it would certainly switch up the school run.