For those of us who grew up watching The Jetsons and Back to the Future, flying cars have been in our dreams for a long time as an anticipated future “someday.” With as congested as streets are in larger cities, many are hoping that air taxis are the solution to the problem, but many wonder if this is a realistic solution or if it would just increase the noise and pollution levels in cities. Another question is whether or not these could be made accessible to everyone or if they would only be available for people of certain income levels.
While people have been using helicopters to get around cities for decades now, they have always been something reserved for those of a certain income level. It is no secret that helicopters are noisy and bad for the environment, and there are concerns that air taxis will just be an upgrade for helicopters, and they will only be available for elites.
It is no secret that traffic is horrible for the environment and it is expensive for those stuck sitting in it. According to the Inrix 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard, drivers in the US spent 99 hours stuck in traffic and it cost them approximately $88 billion. Getting people out of street traffic is one of the appealing things about air taxis and flying cars in general.
Another big concern is how secure these vehicles will be if they fly autonomously like many companies are striving for. There is the potential for these to become the targets of hackers, so major software security will have to be employed before these become widely available.
Air Taxi Development
Some major names are working to develop electric air taxis, including Uber, NASA, Boeing, and even Toyota. The intent with these companies is to link suburbs and major cities while avoiding traffic entirely. “Air taxis could cruise at 180 mph at altitudes of around 1,000 ft to 2,000 ft. But NASA has reported they can go at an altitude up to 5,000 ft.” These are also intended to be autonomously driven.
Morgan Stanley conducted research on the subject, and they believe that by 2040 the air taxi industry could be worth $1.5 trillion.
Uber planned to begin testing its air taxis this year and have them available by 2023; the novel coronavirus epidemic may slow down their plans though. Uber is working with six different manufacturers on the project including Jaunt, Boeing’s Aurora Flight Sciences, Bell Helicopter, Karem Aircraft, EmbraerX, and Pipistrel Vertical Solutions.
Uber is striving to have electronic air taxis “that can fly relatively quietly, carrying four passengers at 150-200 mph for 25 to 60 miles. The company said that initially, the aircraft will be piloted but that over time, they will become autonomous.”
While there are not vertical lifting and landing air taxis yet, QuikCharter offers the next best thing. While you do have to come to the airport for our air taxis, you can fly in style to your destination in a four-seat state-of-the-art Cirrus SR22.