Innovation or Invention: The Case of Personal Aircraft Vehicles

Written by Jim O’Brien 

The business community has long identified the need for innovation within the marketplace and this has often taken the form of updating existing products to include new functions or new usability which the business has identified is desirable to its customers, thus maintaining or protecting its market share.

This process can extend the attractiveness of a product to customers for a very long time. However, at some point this process is challenged by the need for a radically new product which has never existed before, so a process of research, creativity and out of the box thinking produces a cocktail which results in a new product being invented. This is a risky business and therefore often very expensive. However, the rewards if successful can be eye watering.

Innovation driven change

Often, where new products are futuristic in nature and are brought to market, the developers and the product itself can experience some resistance from potential customers who view the new ideas with scepticism. This is typically followed by negative press coverage and less than favourable industry reviews.

Currently we are on the dawn of such a situation, specifically with congestion, roads and personal vehicles. The evident problem with congested roads and how to resolve this problem has eluded governments globally, who correctly identify that building newer bigger roads is an expensive short-term solution. The skies, however, offer many advantages in this area. For decades ‘flying cars’ have been discussed as a potential solution, yet technology, fuel economics and the general perception of the idea of flying cars has been a barrier. It has typically been reserved for the realm of science fiction!

These barriers, however, are or have been systematically removed by decades of applied research and advancement in material technology, Artificial Intelligence, and due to factors such as the rising costs of travel, the demands of modern life and pressing issues with congestion, have all contributed to further push research into this area higher up the priority list for many firms.

Personal flying vehicles

So enter the era of Personal Flying Vehicles, notice no longer flying cars, which as the name suggests are a new breed of vehicle intended for personal use and which use a range of options to support their entry into the market place. As mentioned earlier many potential customers may currently perceive this as a fad that will never catch on.

In Dubai, where the government is always looking for new ways to promote itself, are currently, yes currently trialling drones which have the sole function of being taxis. The drones are produced by Volocopter, this product was selected by Dubai after extensive trial of a number of competing products. There is a range of products using various innovations and inventions, all to become the market leader. The future is almost here, some of the products are Volocopter, Echang, Project Zero, Aeromobil and Pal V Liberty.

All these products have online presence so you can see for yourself the range of drones, copters and yes flying cars which are currently available. Some of the largest global players are rushing to be involved. Can you imagine your “uber” type cab being a flying vehicle which you simply call to be picked up?

No need to imagine, Uber have developed their own vehicle and it exists and is being trialled.

The evidence points to a near future where flying personal vehicles are the norm, helping to solve cities’ congestion problems, improve convenience for customers and prove to be a lucrative market for companies who can utilise innovation to overcome the remaining barriers, thus owning a large market share.

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