Fret no more. Flying taxis may soon help you beat traffic congestion
Lilium's flying story
German developer Lilium has announced that their prototype flying taxi has achieved speeds in excess of 100 km/h. This has given the startup confidence to expand its production capacity ahead of the planned commercial launch in 2025. Lilium is one of a clutch of startups working on battery-powered aircraft that can take off vertically, sparing future travellers the hassle of an airport check-in or delays due to road traffic. Powered by 36 electric motors, the test flights come six months after the five-seater Lilium first staged a test "hover" at a Munich airfield. For now, Lilium is testing its air taxi by remote control, but it will bring in on-board pilots later to be certified airworthy. (Reuters)
Boeing partners with Porsche
US planemaker Boeing Co has been working with Volkswagen's sports car brand, Porsche, to develop a concept electric flying vehicle capable of transporting people in urban settings. Boeing is already competing with arch-rival Airbus SE and other companies to introduce small self-flying vehicles capable of vertical takeoff and landing. Earlier this year, the planemaker conducted an inaugural test flight of an aerial car prototype that could accommodate two to four passengers and fly up to 50 miles. Porsche has been aiming to build flying cars that can be used as taxis and for ride-sharing purposes. (Reuters)
Flying with Uber
Uber Technologies and NASA are working together to study urban manned aircraft following a partnership last year that focused on unmanned drones. As part of the deal, Uber will share its data with the NASA to move the world closer to developing air traffic management systems for a world with flying cars. Uber had also tied-up with Bell Nexus in 2017 to create a network of city-based flying taxis as a way to alleviate street-level traffic. Founded in 1935, by Larry Bell, this company made of several fighter aircraft for World War II and Bell X-1, the first supersonic aircraft. The company was purchased in 1960 by Textron.
Up in the air
Another air mobility company that plans to deliver affordable, on-demand mobility solutions connecting cities, suburbs, and surrounding airports around the world is Airspacex. This startup plans to deploy 2,500 aircrafts in the 50 largest cities in the United States by 2026. In February the company unveiled a sub-scale model of its autonomous electric VTOL aircraft, "MOBi-ONE," which will fly at a top speed of 250 miles per hour and is designed to autonomously takeoff like a helicopter, fly like a plane, and transport passengers or cargo between urban centers, suburbs, and airports within 60 miles.
Bid adieu to traffic woes
Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company is all set to take you to your destination. The plane will provide transportation to 'minimise long commutes due to heavy traffic and urbanisation in populated areas. That would also involve developing 'urban vertiports' where passengers can board flying taxis. The firm has also developed flying taxi concepts as part of its partnership with Uber.
Fly away with Cora
Flying cars have attracted the attention of other technology companies. Alphabet's CEO Larry Page has made investments in companies working on flying cars, like startup Kitty Hawk which is developing Cora. The company plans to combine self-flying software with human supervision. Kitty Hawk, the Mountain View, California-based flying car company founded and backed by Larry Page, started its journey by designing, testing and building all-electric vertical take-off and landing products. Their product, Cora plans to combine self-flying software with human supervision.
Joby Aviation's plans
After working with NASA for years, Joby Aviation now plans to pick passengers up from a nearby vertiport and fly them to their destination. They plan to get people there at least five times faster than driving, with zero emissions. After building and flight-testing one of the world's first full-scale, all-electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) vehicle prototypes, they are developing a commercial version of that design.