Air taxis could soon become a reality, according tomedia Slash Gear. Major companies such as Boeing and Uber are investing heavily in air taxi projects, a new way to get people around the city. Today, most of these taxis look like small planes or helicopters, effectively transporting people to airports, beaches and other destinations, greatly reducing commute times.
What kind of travel will it be for those who can afford it in the near future:
Why would you like to travel by air taxi?
Commercial flights on major airlines are inefficient. They must book in advance and are often delayed. Airlines are also under pressure to fill these flights, leading passengers to stick to their schedules and destinations. In addition, traffic in some cities is so heavy that it takes hours to reach various locations.
This is where air taxis come in. Air taxis provide more flexibility for passengers, including more departure and arrival locations. For airlines or taxi operators, air taxis can significantly reduce operating costs.
Where will it land?
One option proposed by Volocopter, a German manufacturer, would be to build an air taxi port around the city. Air taxis will arrive at the landing platform on VoloPorts, where passengers can quickly check in and board. However, such ports seem outdated, as air taxis are developed for the future and can easily pick up passengers from parking lots and other locations.
To do this, technology must catch up, greatly reducing the wingspan of many of these vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft to safely adapt to these urban spaces.
Meet The Air Taxi
The Volocopter 2X, often considered a leader in the air taxi business, is a helicopter-like vehicle that is expected to begin carrying passengers from all over Singapore in 2022.
The aircraft can accommodate only two people – one passenger and one pilot – and is equipped with noise-cancelling rotors. Considering the environment, it is also completely electric, with nine rechargeable batteries replaced in minutes.
Although the Volocopter 2X can only carry one passenger, local rival Lilium recently tested an all-electric five-seater aircraft called the Lilium Jet. Unlike the 2X, the Lilium Is similar to a conventional aircraft with a tilted rotor with 36 jet engines for VTOL.
Cons: The aircraft is much heavier than the two-seat 2X, which means it could make more noise – and if it’s going to get into the city, the public will have to put up with it.
The taxi service giant is using its vast infrastructure to lay the groundwork for air taxi flights. They have signed an agreement with NASA to study airspace control of flying taxis.
Other companies, such as Boeing and Aurora, also partnered with Uber, which operates helicopter travel between JFK International Airport and Manhattan.
Their idea is to build a commercial network for aircraft, and they hope to achieve that within the next decade.
In addition to infrastructure, Uber is also developing Uber Air, a four-seater aircraft that hopes to take off by 2023.
What are these companies and authorities waiting for?
Air traffic control is a complex task in itself. Air taxis mean hundreds of constantly flying vehicles move within city airspace. Authorities will need to figure out how to carefully manage the aircraft’s activities, plan crowded areas, tall buildings and cope with bad weather conditions to avoid collisions. These are key areas in which NASA is working with Uber to find a solution.
“NASA is excited to be working with Uber and others in the community to identify the major challenges facing the UAM market and to explore the research, development and testing requirements necessary to meet these challenges,” said Jaiwon Shin, NASA’s deputy director of aviation research missions.
There is also the issue of public acceptance. Safety is undoubtedly a problem manufacturers and testers must ensure for their customers, especially in narrow landing areas and in clementious weather. In addition, many people remain cautious about self-driving cars.
Not surprisingly, air taxi services will also be very expensive, especially when it was first launched. For example, a person flying an Uber Elevate helicopter from Jfk International Airport to Manhattan costs about $200, which provides a reference for these private flights in the city.