Ride-sharing has become one of the most disruptive and revolutionary innovations of recent times. It’s working to tackle a variety of issues that revolve around urban congestion, sustainability and convenience.
Such innovative development could make things a whole lot easier for many people. Severe rush hours and an excess of cars in prominent central hubs could very well become remnants of the past.
Could drones and ride-sharing pave the way to a future in which people ride around in air taxis? This sci-fi concept might be closer to reality than you think.
When millions of people migrate to cities from rural areas, governments and city planners might find themselves concerned that people will struggle to get where they need to go as cities become more and more crowded.
French aircraft maker Airbus has been working an air taxi prototype known as Vahana. A working version of the project might be ready as soon as 2020.
Uber may also be unleashing its own fleet of drone services in the near future. The company is collaborating with NASA on a VTOL taxi scheme known as Uber Elevate, which uses autonomous passenger drones that move people between landing pads. Demonstrations could occur in 2020, with a possible launch by 2023.
The race for a piece of the air taxi pie appears to be on. Many sources are confident about the development of drone-type vehicles that carry passengers through the air. In some shape or form, this seems to be a logical and very viable solution to city traffic woes.
To get a good idea of what these air taxis may look like, the EHang 216 “flying taxi” prototype is a two-person vehicle that aims to become a commonplace cab in the sky, with wings instead of tires and propellers instead of pistons.
The first batches of air vehicles are already being delivered to thousands of eager customers.
Volocopter 2X is a two-seater aircraft that features an 18-rotor VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) feature, nine high-capacity batteries and autonomous flying capabilities. The Volocopter 2X has a maximum payload of 160kg and a range of 27km with a cruise speed of 70km/h. The maximum flight time is 27 minutes with a cruise speed of 50km/h. There’s even an emergency parachute for added safety.
Aerospace company FACC, is building a massive production facility where it intends to mass-produce thousands of pilotless flying drone taxis. It seems that this is one of the most promising efforts out there and it could revolutionize personal transportation in cities across the globe.
These companies may have another thing in common, the hope for greener and quieter vehicles, which is why there’s the pursuit of electric propulsion. Preferred horizontal rotor technology also allows for vertical take-off and landing. This could increase functionality in densely built-up urban space.
Composite materials like carbon fibre are also commonly used to keep weight to a minimum.
The question then should be, will the air taxi work as a feasible and affordable alternative solution?
According to Uber’s Mr Moore, the cost of their air taxi with three or four passengers sharing a pool will be “very similar to what an UberX [car] costs today”.
Uber has already begun with the move to acquire landing pads at airports to service travelling customers, identifying Melbourne, Australia, as a potential testing ground.
China is another rapidly moving competitor in the air taxi arena. In fact, some drone vehicles are already being used in the country, though they might currently just be for cargo at this point.
Ultimately, it seems that the entire world is on serious track to moving daily transportation upwards. Could we be heading towards a worldwide ecosystem in which getting into a pilotless airborne taxi is as normal as sharing a ride with Lyft?
Let’s wait and see. In the meantime, if you’d like to take your career to the skies without becoming a traditional airline pilot, consider getting trained and certified. Asia Drone IoT Technologies has successfully completed the 10th batch of the *Certified Drone Operation Proficient ™ program*
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