In Brazilian São Paulo, the tenth largest city in the world, the length of traffic jams on Fridays reaches 180, and sometimes 300 km. The situation is similar in all megacities of the planet - people are in dire need of urban air transport and several leading companies are ready to launch it from day to day. A radical change is expected in the next few years.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the head of Dubai, said that by 2030, 25% of all transport in the city will be unmanned. The emirate has entered into an agreement with the German startup Volocopter to begin testing unmanned flying taxis later this year. This is not an experiment, namely the running-in of a new car - the Daimler concern took part in the creation of a two-seater 18-rotor apparatus. The taxi flies at a speed of 100 km / h and has an energy reserve for 30 minutes of flight.
At the same time, Dubai is looking closely at the Chinese counterpart Ehang, overseas Uber is luring leading specialists from NASA for its Project Elevate, and the French Airbus promises to start testing the Vahana flying capsule this year. All companies have different approaches, but they are similar in their readiness to establish a full-fledged air service within 3-5 years on the basis of a taxi. The key problems of introducing such transport have already been de facto resolved.
Ehang 184 flying capsule from China
For example, the issue of the fuel supply on board - all vehicles use "green technologies", they run on electricity. Rather than designing huge capacity batteries, companies have accelerated and simplified battery replacement to the limit. At each landing on a special site, the partially discharged battery is replaced by a full one while the passengers take their seats - the car will never take off "unfueled".
Or the issue of security - engineers are ready to guarantee the reliability of their unmanned solutions, but in no country in the world will officials release a robot circling over the city, and even with people on board. Therefore, for the first 5-10 years, the presence of the pilot, he is a steward, he is a guide, etc. on board air taxis will be a must. And then the world will get used to a new type of transport and it will be possible to switch to fully autonomous systems.
Air taxi Airbus Vahana