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Image credit: Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty Images

Porsche starts work on flying passenger drones

No guarantees, but it's clearly warming up to the idea.
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Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty Images

You might have to cross another item off of the list of things you never thought Porsche would do. Automobilwoche has claimed that Porsche is developing passenger drones, and is close to showing off its first design sketch. While there's clearly not much to show at this point, you would have some control over the machine but wouldn't need a pilot's license -- like other in-progress drones, a large chunk of the flight control would be automated.

While it's not clear that Porsche is ready to confirm the details, it's clearly open to the idea. Company sales lead Detlev von Platen noted that it takes him "at least half an hour" just to drive from Porsche's plant in Zuffenhausen to the airport in Stuttgart, but just "three and a half minutes" with an aircraft.

It may seem odd for Porsche to not only venture into flying vehicles, but hands-off vehicles. Isn't that anathema to enthusiasts used to taking the wheel? However, it's likely feeling pressure to do something in the passenger drone space. Its rival Daimler is backing Volocopter's drone, while Volvo parent Geely recently bought Terrafugia. Even Porsche owner Volkswagen has dipped its toes into the waters: its Italdesign wing partnered with Airbus on the Pop.Up flying car concept. If Porsche doesn't explore passenger drones, there's a possibility that it could miss out as the transportation world shifts away from human-piloted cars and toward autonomous vehicles of all kinds.

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