Jet-powered ambulances and city workers commuting with drones take to the skies

Jet-powered ambulances, border patrols in flying cars and city workers commuting by drone – all of this may seem sci-fi today – but these ideas are part of the development plan for advanced aerial mobility (AAM), a market expected to be worth $17 billion by 2025. The details were reported by Reuters news agency.

As urbanisation makes city streets increasingly congested and rapid advances in technology now make it possible to create vehicles that were unthinkable decades ago, THE USE OF THE SKY AS AN EVEN LESS SATURATED SPACE IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY ATTRACTIVE FOR SMALL AIRCRAFT.

Wisk, a startup working to revolutionise passenger transport, has been testing an autonomous electric small plane called Cora, which can take off vertically, at its base in Tekapo, New Zealand, for four years with the support of the giant Boeing. Wisk is currently in talks with regulators, including the US Federal Aviation Administration, to obtain permission to introduce the air taxi into everyday transport.

THE VEHICLE CAN CARRY TWO PASSENGERS UP TO 100 KILOMETRES AND CAN ACCELERATE UP TO 150 KM/H.

With 67% of the world’s population expected to be urban by 2030, ground infrastructure will no longer be able to keep up, making it necessary to make even greater use of the sky’s capacity – said Anna Kominik, Wisk’s Director for Asia Pacific.

The sensational news is that the Liberty, a two-seater capable of a maximum speed of 180 km/h and a flying range of 400 kilometres, is roadworthy, HAS BEEN GRANTED A LICENCE TO OPERATE ON EUROPEAN ROADS THIS YEAR.

Deliveries will start in 2023. So far, 15 countries have already placed orders and 193 others have expressed interest in this special development. However, Kominik refused to give a timetable for when Cora will deliver its first passengers. “Our intention is not to be the first in the market; we want to be the best,” he said.

ACCORDING TO ALLIED MARKET RESEARCH, THE ADVANCED AIR MOBILITY MARKET COULD BE WORTH NEARLY $17 BILLION BY 2025 AND $110 BILLION BY 2035.

The Liberty giroplane is seen by experts as capable of performing a variety of tasks, including pipeline surveillance, law enforcement and medical operations in remote areas. Kominik says that creating an “ecosystem” is critical as the industry and technology evolves. “This requires a very different mindset from government policy, regulators and the community,” he said. California-based Wisk chose New Zealand because it has made possible “beyond the horizon” experimental flights of autonomous aircraft in a way that is unique in the world.

Impact of the coronavirus

Kominik says the pandemic has both helped and hurt the industry. Sales of giroplanes slowed as personal test flights were restricted, while it gave a boost to the private aircraft industry and reinforced the human need for personal encounters.

Mr Kominik said that strict border restrictions in New Zealand had prevented some key staff from entering the country in recent months, but had allowed the opening of a new test facility in Australia.

Source: Reuters

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