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Drive & Fly Innovation in the Automotive Sector


An update from Maki Kaplinsky, CEO and Cofounder of NFT Inc.

I’d like to share my takeaways on new opportunities in the automotive sector, based on my participation in the Automotive Computing Conference (ACC) in Frankfurt (Oct 23-24). I was honored to be selected as a keynote speaker, joining distinguished speakers from companies such as Volkswagen, Robert Bosch, Arm, QTronic, Volvo, EB, Continental and Visteon.


The conference was an interesting opportunity for NFT because I could explain the development of the ASKA drive and fly vehicle to an audience mostly comprised of people in the automotive industry. My speech was very different from other presentations because I was explaining a new sector that the automotive industry can expand to – Urban Air Mobility (UAM). I described how automotive players can join the competition and contribute to the growth of UAM. Their value add? The automotive sector has production capabilities to deliver the high quality, and volume, that is needed for high consumer demand for a drive and fly vehicle. This is a real advantage and can make UAM affordable for a wider range of people.


One of the ‘surprise’ elements in my presentation was my statement that autonomous flying will become a reality sooner than autonomous driving. The audience was interested and very open-minded to these ideas and we had some excellent followup discussions throughout the rest of the conference.


The co-sponsors of the event, Arm, Elektrobit, and Synopsys, did a wonderful job of creating a venue that was ‘human-centric’ in size. I estimate there were about 100 participants, which created a high-level gathering of industry doers and influencers, and an atmosphere that supported productive networking and discussions. I appreciated the interest, practical approach and openness of the people I met. I also gained greater insight into how UAM is advancing in Germany and the impressive achievements of developers in the eVTOL space.


I returned to Silicon Valley with positive impressions of my visit to Germany. UAM is not specific to one country or to one sector — it’s a once in a 100-year evolution in technology that we can all contribute to. My hope is that the automotice industry will play a key role in advancing UAM and profit from the opportunity.