To create a flying car industry

2021-01-13

The creation of a flying car industry may be closer than you think. Major automobile manufacturers, aircraft manufacturers, general electronics companies, ride-hailing companies and venture capitalists in several countries have already invested up to tens of billions of yen in this industry through technological development. Japan has also been working to make the practical use of flying cars a reality, through investment by major corporations and collaboration among industry, government and academia.

It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that to bring flying cars to our society, a comprehensive approach is needed. In addition to developing the technologies needed to build aircraft, infrastructure needs to be established, system requirements need to be identified, and service models need to be considered for each region.

To accomplish this, we believe that integrators are the key. Integrators will serve as a ‘control tower,’ supervising aircraft, infrastructure and air traffic control as overall systems. Sustainable ecosystems which go beyond the use-case framework used for demonstration also need to be developed based on the characteristics of each region.

We predict that by 2030, the flying car market in Japan will be driven by large-scale transport of goods, including transportation between hubs. We expect that proofs of concept for passenger transport will be carried out at the same time. If infrastructures and system requirements are then established, aircraft developed, and rules created according to plan, we expect a passenger transport market to develop in urban areas by 2040, leading to the growth of the flying car market to the scale of about 2.5 trillion yen. This will also create markets for the peripheral systems, such as flight management systems, that are indispensable for safe flight operations. 

But how should Japanese players such as companies, local governments and government agencies approach the flying car market? From a technical point of view, Japanese companies should seek partnerships with external parties while leveraging their technical strengths, instead of focusing on the partial optimisation of individual aircraft and operational technologies. It is also essential for corporations to establish a roadmap for technology development in line with the anticipated development of the industry. On the business side, companies need to identify the needs of each region related to the transport of goods and passengers, and to create service models based on the necessary aircraft, infrastructure, and system technology. We expect local government leaders to engage in lobbying and coordination activities to reach local agreements. To do so, they will need to create stories that lead to the solution of region-specific issues in a way that is compatible with the local economy. Local government workers should then take the lead in further developing these concepts based on technological and business trends. At the same time, we expect the supervisory authorities to develop and use a roadmap and to set up an environment to vitalise the industry. In this report, we showcase important points for Japanese players wanting to enter the market to consider by providing an overview of four key points for developing the flying car industry based on PwC’s knowledge and expertise.

We have been working with leading infrastructure companies, aircraft development manufacturers, local governments, and government agencies representing Japan to build a flying car industry under a unique ‘emerging aviation’ framework for this new industry. We are dedicated to promoting the development of integrators who will play a core role in building the industry and help solve issues unique to the relevant stakeholders. By providing end-to-end support from vision development to materialisation, we seek to solve community-based social mobility issues.

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