In The Fifth Element, movie that takes place in the 2263, a young Bruce Willis leaves the house and calls a flying taxi. Taking a flying taxi so its only a futuristic fantasy? Maybe not anymore: Uber, Lilium, Ehang, Boeing andAirbus maybe will make it possible really soon.
The Test of the first flying taxi of Nec Corp
In Japan they are testing the first prototypes of flying vehicles. Nec Corp, especially made some tests about a model of drone that will allow even the passengers’ transport. The testing went right, but only a part. Infact the vehicle flew in the air only a minute, few meters from the ground and without passengers onboard.
But the researches to use the drones for the transport started. According to the schedule it’s predicted for the 2023 the first deliveries via drone.
Uber, Lilium, Kitty Hawk, Ehang and Bell Nexus
To partecipate to the sky race there is even Uber which announced, more than one year ago, a test that will start only in the 2020. It will be tested electrical vehicles with vertical takeoff and landing. The hexcopter is really similiar to a drone and it is equipped with six directional propellers.
The vertical takeoff and landing are essential in the future mobility’s view. The slopes infact occupy too many space, in the city it will be impossible to introduce them for the landing of the flying taxi.
Lilium, a german company, is making tests for some five seats vehicles (after the experiments of the ones with two seats). The strongsuit of the vehicles Lilium will surely be the speed, infact the managers of the company promise that it will be possible to cover distances like Manhattan – Aeroporto JFK in only six minutes compared with the sixty minutes that we need today.
The company Kitty Hawk is suppored by the founder of Google Larry Page. The tests on the vehicles realized, which are called Cora, have good prospects. But to see them out there we ill need to wait few years more.
Who is a step forward about the planning is the chinese Ehang. Infact it already saw its fourcopter Ehang 184 going through huge distances, even with passengers.
The chinese company already signed contracts with Dubai to bring its vehicles on the arabian skies. Are right the United Arab Emirates to focus on this new kind of flying vehicle, to revolutionize the city transport.
The model of Bell Nexus, instead, has a hybrid engine: the thermal engine extends the autonomy by allowing longer ways. Inside it there will be the space for five people includes the pilot, infact it won’t have an autonomous drive.
Volocopter, Airbus, Boeing and Pal-V Liberty
Right in Dubai the Volocopter realized a first demonstration, in the 2017, of its vehicle which allow vertical takeoffs and landings. The startup though is moving in Singapore, where this year the first tests started and where it would like to realize the Volo-Port: some infrastructures for the takeoff and the landing of its vehicles.
A step back there is even Airbus which few months shown its Alpha Two in prototype version scale 1:1. Alpha Two at the moment gives the possibility to transport only one passenger, but unlike the other ones it provides an autonomous drive. The france company announced that the first demonstrative transports will happen during the Olympic Games in Paris 2024 and it will be made from the airport Charles de Gaulle until the center of the city.
Boeing instead finished the first test in Virginia, even this experiment though was just few seconds long, only the time to allow the first evaluations about the next steps to do.
To close the circle Pal-V Liberty a really especially model, that really remember a flying taxi of the movie The Fifth Element. It is infact a flying car able even to go on the street. The price though isn’t affordable: the basic model starts from a minimum of 300 thousand dollars.
This post is also available in: Italiano