Record Sales for Switchblade Flying Car Hit 800th Order Reservation
Manufacturer Samson Sky unveiled its Switchblade prototype at EAA AirVenture last month and its flying off the shelves, so to speak.
Flying car manufacturer Samson Sky just broke records by garnering its 800th official order reservation for the Switchblade, a high-performance air and ground-based vehicle capable of reaching up to 190 mph with a power to weight ratio of a 2017 Corvette. According to Samson Sky via PR Newswire, the reservations span 24 countries, and 46 states in the U.S. with California, Florida, and Texas leading the domestic charts.
The Switchblade differentiates itself from the current vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) standard in the passenger drone industry, as its a fixed-wing vehicle requiring airstrips to land and take off. Meanwhile, companies like Workhorse, Volocopter, EHang and Uber are pushing for the VTOL approach with every development phase of their prototypes currently in production.
For congested urban environments, removing the need for runways is an entirely logical strategy to toss the need for additional infrastructure aside. Sure, these companies will have to establish passenger drone-centric launchpads and relegate those to specific areas across cities, but the inconvenience of relying on pre-established airstrips won’t dampen the experience. You might argue that taking a flying car from one runway to another is not too dissimilar from the conventional airplane experience, at which point you might ask yourself how different your new mode of transportation really is.
“Even supposing the technology works, where would they land?” posited John Preston, head of the Transportation Research Group at the University of Southampton.
For Samson Sky CEO Sam Bousfield, however, VTOL transportation is untenable for the masses, and will inevitably only offer a small portion of wealthy people with the convenience of easy aerial commuting. Bousfield is confident that creating an aerial corridor for flying cars will prove to be a more worthwhile endeavor, and a smarter gamble than the VTOL initiatives being explored by the likes of Uber.
“This is a smart way to introduce the concept,” said Bousfield in reference to establishing aerial flying car corridors. “I think Mark Moore of Uber sees the opportunity, but realizes there is a gradient approach to making a change as significant as this. We had what we felt was a winning design for the future as well as for today, so we pushed forward with development and testing.”
Samson Sky unveiled the Switchblade in its final form for the very first time at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin last month. While the company claims its 10-year project was developed with existing infrastructure in mind, that’s certainly the same argument VTOL companies make when discussing that existing infrastructure doesn’t provide the convenience that should be inherent in the passenger drone experience.
Uber, Airbus, and EHang have designed their passenger drones with the specific infrastructure constraints of buildings and roads in mind since transportation within a city seems unavailable if you’re relegated to runways to take off and land. Bousfield’s project seems to be taking off regardless of these decisions as hundreds of customers have already placed their official reservations.
“We are at the point now of having to increase the size of our planned initial production facility to keep up with the growing demand we are receiving for the Switchblade,” he said.
Ultimately, the lifelong discussion around flying cars continues, with only prototypes, plans, and estimated timelines for actual implementation at our disposal. Delivery dates for the Switchblade were not available.