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Clean #energy #drones will soon bring you to your destination.
Transportation Transportation Battery

Never in a traffic jam anymore

The Airbus Vahana

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has shown its prototype flying taxi to the world: the Vahana. This self-driving drone should bring you in the city from A to B in the future. Never be in a traffic jam anymore.

The Airbus Vahana

Volocopter in action!

And Airbus is not the only one with this vision. Uber, the Chinese EHang and the German Volocopter are also working on flying taxis. But from when can we fly along? In about ten years, the technology companies expect.

The first test flight of Vahana lasted only 53 seconds and he only flew 5 meters high. The prototype looks like a consumer trio, but then a whole lot bigger. Vahana must in the future be part of a network of flying taxis flying above our cities.

Uber, 'Elevate'

That same dream has taxi company Uber. Uber Elevate is the project of the company. They want on the roof of every skyscraper a platform from where a flying taxi can fly you without a driver into the city. The first taxis have to fly in 2020. And according to CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, the service must be commercially deployable within ten years. "In their optimism, Uber expects to be able to fly with a pilot in 2028. And five years later, autonomous," says Robert Dingemanse, who makes flying cars. Where are we standing right now?

The German Volocopter

The German company Volocopter is currently the furthest with their flying taxi. Meanwhile, their 2X can fly about 27 kilometers before the battery is empty. The company is currently in talks with the government of Dubai and wants to make the first commercial flights in 2020.
VC2 a white Volocopter standing on a grassfield
The German Volocopter E2

The Chinese eHang 184

The Chinese drone company EHang has already produced over a thousand manned test flights with their model. The company says that their aircraft can fly about 15 kilometers, but in practice the model gets about 8 kilometers. In the future, EHang also wants to set up a taxi service.
EHANG 184 flight test
EHang Flight test

The Dutch PAL-V

And then there is the Dutch PAL-V, by Robert Dingemanse. That flying car is already finished and is already being sold. "Next week, the first production model is ready and we will deliver in the course of next year." The PAL-V is a flying car. He is allowed on the road and can take off as an airplane. For the time being especially interesting for the richest, but customers of PAL-V also want to use it as a taxi.
The Dutch Pal-V flying over nature
The Dutch PAL-V

Aerospace expert Joris Melkert from TU Delft sees it happening in the future. "You can already see that it is literally getting off the ground, and the only question is: when will it be economically feasible and what will it look like in our cities?"

The Dutch company PAL-V testflight

"You run into three things: the technology, the execution and the acceptance of these flying taxis." The biggest technical obstacle is the battery. "You depend on batteries, which do not currently provide enough power." Especially if you want to take off and land vertically, just like a drone, which is handy in the city. "That is incredibly energy-intensive." Joris continues: "You run into questions like: where are you going to land? Where are you going to pick up your passengers? Do we have space for these kind of flying taxis? And how do you prevent people being beheaded? Safety is very important." But the most important thing is according to Joris acceptance. Are we all going to accept that these flying taxis are buzzing around our ears? "The fact that they are electric does not mean that they are quiet." Finally you run into the costs, both Joris and Robert say. Your own helicopter plane is not cheap. Not even if you rent it as a taxi. "Is this business interesting?" Joris asks himself. "Or is this a taxi for the happy few? I do not have the illusion that this yellow cabs from New York will be replaced."


By: NOS, Uber, Airbus, Volocopter, PAL-V, Joris Melkert, TU-Delft