Surely many are familiar with Luc Besson’s film The Fifth Element, in which Bruce Willis, who plays Korben Dallas, searches the endless tall skyscrapers, hauling a car-like air taxi to the daily filler. The forms of transport seen in Franco-British sci-fi were once thought to be the minimum smile of dreams in our lives, but the 24 years since the cinema was shown proved to be a breathtaking tale, responsible dreamers of transport technology take work seriously, at least most. Of course, there is no question of flying cars off the production lines at the crowd, but there are well-known brands today that are already showing tangible results in the implementation of passenger drones – including smaller companies, but mainly industrial players, familiar behind them. with investors named.
Right here is Toyota, which has teamed up with Joby Aviation’s aircraft factory to develop a transport drone. Toyota is actually giving its money to make Joby C, a tight $ 400 million, two-thirds of the total development cost. The launch of the “naturally” purely e-powered, 6-rotor machine is planned for 2023, and it would be good if the world’s legislators in the field of air-public transport also flashed by then. The drone is capable of carrying 5 people from A to B – the official description calls one passenger a “pilot” even though the vehicle would be a semiconductor. There is already an estimate of the initial operating cost, $ 2.5 per mile, which could be manufactured in Monterey. Morgan Stanley has already calculated how much taxi revenue the company could have by 2040: $ 674 billion. If this is really guaranteed by anyone by then, it’s definitely a miserable return on investment for Toyota. The program also has an almost tangible “ideology”: turn the streets into parks ! Remaining with well-known car brands – in which, for some reason, many analysts believe there will be more public confidence once we freak out on drones… – Hyundai has partnered with Uber Elevate air taxi service provider, though the corona virus has taken this business out of Uber’s hands. The PAV is a fantasy machine – or something else that Joby can develop. At the dawn of the project, even Mark Nore, one of NASA’s leading aeronautical engineers, became part of the adventure, and his knowledge will certainly not hurt Joby.
Already in 2017, eVolo horned itself into the world, saying that from 2018, its VTOL will be flying. The “student” item, called the Volocopter 2X, is designed to deliver 18 people with 18 rotors. With 6 rechargeable batteries in 40 minutes, the prototype flew for 17 minutes. The Daimler company is behind it, and it is already known that from 2023 it will be a means of transport in Singapore, and it has been said in the past that it will be the first such vehicle to be granted a European air traffic license. Volocopter’s sister car, VoloCity, can start operating as an air taxi in America’s largest cities – New York, Washington and Los Angeles.
The means of transport of the future must have inspired many engineers working in the passenger drone industry today. Not coincidentally, perhaps: a helicopter called One by a development company called Jetson, like others, has already been built to life-size. The machine is four-rotor, capable of transporting one person, and can spend about 15-25 minutes in the air at a time, but unfortunately it can’t handle more weight yet, in addition to its 90-pound dead weight, it can “fit” 85 pounds. The advantage is that since its completion in the spring of 2020, the 8 electric drone is now available for $ 59,000.
French aircraft manufacturer Airbus is developing a one-person VTOL in Silicon Valley in a project called the fancy Vahana. Moreover, this is actually a thing of the past, because in 2 years the device suitable for passenger transport has been assembled from 0 to 100 percent, the special feature of which is that it can deliver a passenger or (!) A larger load, it has 8 rotors, up to 1000 feet (approx. 300 m) it can fly high – that is, it would not collide with almost anything outside the mountains. The company also organizes a taxi system, based on the principle of car-sharing known today. It can go 50 kilometers.
Would the Chinese be left out of the good? Through EHang, the most populous country on Earth already has its own passenger drone factory. The first device can carry 220 pounds (99.79 kg) and can fly 35 km at 100 km / h, up to an altitude of 11,000 feet (3353 m). After testing in China, EHang would also break into the U.S. market in the coming years, but we’ll definitely see the right stock market performance sooner. Aircraft are certainly the most advanced in terms of permits. Such is Terrafugia’s perhaps somewhat bulky 500-mile terrestrial-to-air amphibian, which, in turn, could only be in circulation by 2025 and requires an air pilot’s license, the legal will not be enough. It was announced in January this year that it had received a U.S. sport flying license, beyond an 80-day, successful test flight test. This experiment is owned by a Chinese company that also owns Volvo and Lotus. The goal is to actually fly by 2022!
In Slovakia, AeroMobil is experimenting with a flying car, but like the previous one, the design still struggles with the problem that takeoff doesn’t just go vertically, just like a drone or helicopter. Thus, even development could be left out of our compilation, but they are still important due to the knowledge of the color palette of development directions. The Slovak aircraft would be launched in 2023, the transformation takes 3 minutes. Like China, Google’s US giant cannot be left out of aircraft development, at least the company’s co-founder, Larry Page, certainly isn’t. A car called Zee.Aero, which grows wings, was already seen in the air by several people in 2017, with Boeing standing behind previous developments, but now running this project as Kittyhawk.
The Dutch PAL-V announced in the fall that its solution, which combines a car and a drone, is collecting official permits to operate at a dizzying pace. The device was already “tested in flight” in 2012, and in 2022, 90 VIP applicants will be able to receive the keys to this aircraft, which also requires a runway. In January this year, GM’s Cadillac brand was enriched – at least at the announcement level – with a flying car. In this project, Fiat Chrysler teamed up with Archer Partner to develop a 60-mile aircraft with 150 speeds by 2024. Behind the project is also the e-commerce company Walmart.
Everything we’ve written about so far is expected to represent the very near future, almost the present. However, we have seen in the past, through a number of examples, how difficult “big, common regulation” is for even a single country, even for a deal involving so much money and such diverse interests. But whatever happens in the field of air-public transport in this decade, technology is already there in the hands of man, along with the many problems associated with the transport of world cities and its development.