Flying cars and drone taxis moving in disciplined lines are the product of fantasy and so far only occur in movies. However, a recent international study by KPMG highlights that the conditions are in place for the vision to come true. According to KPMG analysts, the question today is not whether our technology is advanced enough, but when and with what business models market players will enter the competition.
Urban aviation – or, as the study suggests, UAM (Urban Air Mobility) – could be the next step in metropolitan and suburban transport systems, according to KPMG, and is projected to emerge in the millions by the end of the next decade, showing lightning-fast development. in the cities of the world.
One of the keys to a sudden change is the device itself, a vehicle that can fly without a runway. Although helicopters became available for commercial use from the 1950s, they have not been able to spread on a mass scale to this day. There are several reasons for this: it makes a cumbersome, uncomfortable, dangerous impression, and last but not least, it is still terribly expensive. In addition, it is not a little polluting. Because of this, few people can afford it, the rich are left with toys, even as air taxis at pulling prices.
Now, however, an alternative technology is available, an electric helicopter capable of vertical take-off and landing, or rather a drone, the so-called e-VTOL (vertical take off and landing), various versions of which have gone beyond the prototype stage in several manufacturers’ offerings.
The key is the design of eVTOL, as it has more electric motors and not one than conventional helicopters. Thanks to this innovation, an eVTOL aircraft is quiet, light, eco-friendly, and therefore the number of landing areas does not limit its spread. An important factor in the success is that these vehicles will be autonomous from the first minute, communicating with each other and with ground control. Thanks to advances in technology, urban aviation could be a much more efficient and popular service in the future.
The question arises as to where these vehicles fit into urban transport? KPMG expects that UAM will soon be available at similar prices as premium taxis or first-class trains, while saving significant time. The target audience will first be people who can afford to avoid downtown and suburban traffic jams. Over time, prices will fall and mass spread is expected. KPMG estimates that by 2030, urban aviation could register 12 million flights as a service, while by 2050 this figure could jump to 400 million a year, accounting for up to 4 percent of total air traffic.
While at first it only triggers the airport transportation of busy and affluent businessmen on the power line, it will later show up en masse in multi-point traffic within the city and then gain civil rights in the agglomeration and beyond, becoming an integral part of public transport. KPMG has so far identified 70 cities where congestion, population growth and high purchasing power have contributed to the emergence of UAM. Of these, 23 are in Asia, 16 in North America and 15 in Europe.