Flying taxis are just around the corner, and a number of players are vying for the coveted space. However, the undisputed leader of the pack is Airbus with its unmatched aeronautics pedigree. The company revealed in 2016 that it is working on an aerial taxi named CityAirbus to fly urban passengers around. It had also announced plans to put the air taxi in operation in 2018.
The company recently successfully test fired CityAirbus propulsion system to put the taxis in the air. Encouraged by the successful tests, the company announced it’s on track to put CityAirbus in the air in 2018.
Need for Flying Taxis
Modern Cities are constantly under stress from the ever-growing influx of people. As a result, cities are becoming denser and the roads are becoming more congested. So, there is an urgent need to reduce the stress on roads. One way is to put vehicles up in the air. And that’s what CityAirbus aims to address. Currently designed to carry a maximum of four people, CityAirbus is currently pilot-driven. However, with the formation of regulations and development of technology, Airbus envisions it to finally become a completely autonomous vehicle. CityAirbus is capable of vertical take off and landing. Electric-powered, it is designed for short distance, urban commutes such as travelling to airports and train stations. Flying taxis from Airbus will have a top speed of 80mph, a great speed for congestion-free urban commute.
Airbus has been working on multiple fronts to grab a big pie of the short distance, urban air transport. It includes Skyways, a delivery service that uses drones; Vahana, a vertical take-off and landing aircraft; Vroom, a helicopter sharing service. Further, it’s working with Uber for an air-based, ride-sharing service.
An important piece of the puzzle is the batteries powering these electric, aerial vehicles. Autonomous dock charging and battery unit swapping would further pave the way for much easier and quicker adoption of aerial vehicles.