The global VTOL market is expected to blossom in coming decades, as congested cities look for new ways to cut journey times and commuters and tourists embrace the promise of piloted and then automated air taxi flight. Morgan Stanley has estimated that the market could be worth US$1 trillion by 2040. The sector has seen a gold rush of startups and investors, breathless media reportage and futuristic demos. Many operators are expecting to commercialise their first propositions within the next three years.
On the other hand, as of 2021, the level of investor interest risks creating a bubble and subsequent crash in financial interest. Morgan Stanley’s US$1 trillion estimate, for example, is downgraded from their original total addressable market estimate of US$1.5 trillion published back in 2018. Analysts at the bank cite a “regulatory Mount Everest” for the technology to climb and a number of risks around the speed of adoption, all of which suggest that investors may need to be prepared for a 20 to 30 year return on investment. However, even their most bearish predictions still estimate a multi-trillion dollar market globally by 2050.
Publicly available databases have begun tracking the maturity of the different VTOLs coming to market, with an emphasis on developer more than country of operation. KPMG’s global series ‘Aviation 2030’ and the KPMG Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index have both furnished insights into aerial mobility and autonomous vehicle (AV) trends around the world, respectively. The ATRI is intended to build on that AV methodology to provide specific insight into the readiness by territory to embrace the new age of aerial mobility through VTOLs.