London - It could be the ultimate vehicle for super-rich James Bond fans – an Aston Martin micro-plane.
007’s favourite carmaker plans to create a drone-like three-seater craft, costing between £3 million and £5 million (R52m-R87m), which would fly at speeds of up to 360km/h for 480km.
The ‘Volante Vision’ would take off and land vertically thanks to three propellers, carrying the pilot and two passengers in a Perspex cockpit. In flight, the nose-cone would drop down – like Concorde’s did – to give the occupants a near all-round view.
Expanding on technology from Aston Martin cars, it would be constructed of super lightweight carbon-fibre compounds with ‘green’ hybrid electric-gas turbines to power the propellers.
The project is being carried out by an all-British consortium of Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and Cranfield University, with Government support.
It could be in production within five years – but sadly for Bond fans, no ejector seats are planned.
Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer said: “Air travel will be a crucial part in the future of transportation, the Volante Vision Concept is the ultimate luxury mobility solution.
“Humans have always spent on average, one hour commuting to and from work. The distance we live from our workplace has been determined by the methods of transportation available. The Volante Vision Concept will enable us to travel further with our hourly commute, meaning we are able to live further away from where we work. Cities will grow, and towns that are today too far away from cities to be commutable will become suburban.
“With Aston Martin and our ‘dream team’ of British innovation across industry and academia, we are positioned to change the future of transportation, giving our customers a new dimension of freedom.”