Air taxi can be considered as small aircrafts which are designed to use as cabs to cover short distances in minimum time intervals. As everyone knows that many companies are working in this field to launch air taxis or air buses. Among those companies it includes the giants like Airbus, Uber, Bell Helicopter and many more.
Companies tried to make them self-flying, non-expensive and fastest serving machines to carry people from one to other by saving their expensive time and the road traffic in urban areas. These aircrafts have propellers as well as rotors for vertical take-off and landing. Flying cars can prevent road accidents and a great fall can be seen in the number of fatalities due to accidents. There will be a decrease in pollution levels too as the flying cars will be using electrical functioning system, which means, no fuel burn.
The ‘Centaur’ is an optionally piloted aircraft which means that it can be flown with or without a pilot. It has been developed by an company named ‘Aurora Flight Sciences’. Centaur is modified and programmed for 3 modes of flight in which a human pilot can fly it, can be flown by a remote pilot on ground, and by the remote pilot with a safety pilot on board.
On the other end, Vahna project is in process, held by Airbus Group’s A3 division, which has the full focus on self-piloted, small aircraft, designed to carry two passengers at a time. Rodin Lyasoff, the project executive of Airbus’s Vahna Air taxi states that, “Think of the Star Wars scenes of the aerial highways over the city-planet of Coruscant and you get the idea.”
In a Consumer Electronics Show, Bell Helicopter has also revealed its new air taxi design which has a seating capacity of four passengers. Mitch Snyder, the President and CEO of Bell Helicopter said that, “The future of urban air taxi is closer than many people realize. We believe in the positive impact our design will have on addressing transportation concerns in cities worldwide”.
A spokesperson of the company states that, “It can hold four passengers and luggage. We believe the future will begin with a pilot and three passengers, and then become a fully autonomous flight with four passengers”.
Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Uber states that, “We want to create the network around those vehicles so that regular people can take these taxis in the air for longer distances when they want to avoid traffic at affordable prices” and Mark Moore, the Engineering Director of Aviation at Uber said that, “Maintenance and pilots are the two most expensive things. That’s why we are pushing towards future autonomous solutions so that we can take that pilot out. But we’ll not do that until we know the software is safe.
FAA (the US Federal Aviation Administration) rightly wants to see 5-10 years of pilot operation with background autonomy, before we can turn over these vehicles to full autonomous control. That is very reasonable and very similar to what we are doing with autonomous driving on the ground.”
Air Taxis are an attractive idea to defeat a major problem of traffic congestion in most urban areas and air travel requires planning and time wasted at airports. In this situation, Air taxis would be the easier way to overcome the traffic and to reduce daily commute time. It would be more convenient to travel with your luggage from your location to the airport to instead of dealing with airport parking. People would be able to book an air car to drop from a location to the chosen destination.
Talking about the cargo, Air taxis or Drones would be used as fastest parcel delivery machines too. Amazon has already tried their hands to test the viability of delivering light weighted parcels, with the help of air taxis. Obstacle avoidance, operations beyond line of sight, and flights where one person operates multiple autonomous drones are the three key areas on which Amazon got the permission and this makes up 90% of its sales.
Patients requiring a higher level of medical care or emergency care must be quickly transported from rural or urban to large population centers where hospitals providing higher levels of specialized care are located. Automobile accident victims must be quickly transported to trauma centers that are capable of providing the necessary emergency medical care. Doctors who provide specialized services require time-saving transportation from their locations. Air taxis would be the most efficient way to provide immediate medical care, or patients would also be carried immediately to the hospitals with the help of this service and can get saved.