Flying on demand is a luxury that can finally give you the freedom of movement and, above all, time saving you always wanted. Air taxis are here to stay.
Considered science fiction not too long ago, air taxis are now a reality that provide a solution to the excessive urban traffic in many cities of the world.
In Ingolstadt, Germany, the hometown of luxury auto firm Audi, certain actions are being taken in partnership with the company pioneer in the development of flying vehicles of this type in Europe. Last year, Audi and Airbus presented Pop Up Next, their automated airland vehicle prototype and have signed a letter asking for permission to begin field tests. Their purpose is to facilitate and accelerate people transportation in the big cities and finally put an end to the issues caused by excessive traffic.
Hollywood has sold us the idea of lying in personal vehicles. A fantasy coming to life.
However, Germany is not alone in this race to the future. Corporations, governments and entrepreneurs worldwide are joining forces to stay ahead in the conquest of the sky. Boeing has even started a campaign called GoFly to gather designs and projects for personal flying vehicles with the sole condition of being capable of vertical takeoff and travel at least 32 kms uninterruptedly. During the first stage of GoFly, Boeing awarded thousand dollars to a total of ten teams from different countries in the hopes of cracking the issue of personal flying vehicles. The winners of the competition will receive two million dollars and the intellectual property rights of their creations.
On the other side of the world, in Singapore they are readying themselves to take to the skies with test flights beginning on the third quarter of this year. The tests will be aimed to the evaluation of the vehicles’ ability to interact with an urban environment. German firm, Volocopter, will be in charge of conducting the tests like its done before in Dubai with manned and unmanned vehicles. Singapore has always been a leader and pioneer in technological development, so it was an obvious partner for this project. It was the first country to test unmanned taxis in 2016, two years later announced its intentions to advance that concept to buses by 2020. Volocopter‘s prototype looks like a helicopter but its technology is closer to a drone which allows it to be controlled remotely. Previous tests have lasted only 53 seconds, which is considered a great achievement in the research of this kind of transport.
Currently, Voom trips don’t contemplate touristic destinations but it doesn’t rule out providing pleasure trips in the future.
Introducing a new and uncommon service is not the only challenge. It requires getting people to put their unconditional trust on these unmanned vehicles, something that will take time to occur. Mexico is not far behind in urban air transport either. The Mexican capital has a traffic problem that requires solutions like Voom, an application that offers comfortable and fluid helicopter travel experiences. Voom‘s fleet consists to six aircrafts and performed its first trip in Mexican territory just three months ago and by the end of last year more than a thousand people had used their services, proof of the growing demand.