The dream of having a flying car is closer every day. In an attempt to bring us closer to the future and efficiently combat congestion and pollution in large cities, the concept of Urban Air Mobility aims to provide a possible solution to these two major problems.
Unsurprisingly, several actors have already set in motion to lead this new sector. That’s why companies like Audi and Airbus, Porsche and Boeing, or Carplane and Lilium even decided to work together to make these projects a reality.
Design is one of the big factors of these flying cars. This is due to the difficulty of being able to adapt either type of vehicle to efficiently meet both types of displacement.
This in itself has been changing a bit due to the new technologies available. Audi and Airbus are showing a concept of the prototype at the Geneva Motor Show 2018, a flying car with autonomous driving. This works similar to a drone that attaches to the top of the car when it needs to fly, and decouples to function as a car.
The idea is to be able to provide a premium taxi service, the cars will be shared use and will be driven autonomously. It is difficult to know when these cars will be seen circulating, since regulations will have to be implemented, adapting their infrastructure for their proper functioning. However it will surely be very soon, since Audi in 2018 already got permission to test flying cars in Germany.
Electric flying cars
Lilium Aviation, a German company, has been working on an electric prototype with vertical takeoff and landing. It is powered by 36 jet engines,a Tesla battery and a carrying capacity of up to 5 people. Lilium states that the vehicle can reach a speed of 294 km/h (183 mph) achieving a range of 294 km (183 miles) of range on a single charge. This data is with the vehicle operated by computers, without passengers. For now, the company is focused on improving vehicle safety, before starting tests with people. Part of Lilium’s vision is to be able to provide a transportation service that is cheap and fast to the public. Although we don’t know when we’ll see this flying car cross our skies, it’s expected to be sooner rather than later.
Rolls Royce is another company that wants to join this segment. Although at the moment they do not have a prototype outside the drawing board, they hope to start soon. Rolls Royce intends to use gas turbines to produce electricity that will power the car, and will have a battery to store energy. Its wings will have a mechanism that has the possibility of making 90-degree turns, hoping to make vertical landings and takeoffs, thus not needing an airstrip. The car is expected to carry 4 or 5 passengers at speeds of up to 400 km/h and a range of 800 km.
Volocopter begins testing in Singapore
Volocopter in collaboration with Skyports, have decided to launch an urban air mobility service in Singapore: taxi helicopters. Reservations will work through your app, where you can manage your travel bookings. The heliports will have lounges and lounges so that customers can comfortably wait for their transport.
With this prototype in Singapore, it is intended to be able to do the tests with real customers and give the best possible experience to the passenger. Publicize the procedures of reservation management, customer service, pre-check-in, lounge for passengers and boarding processes. This will allow testing at the heliports of ground operations such as battery change, charging time, maintenance and safety. It will also give the authorities and the regulatory industry the opportunity to see the infrastructure and give their opinion and suggestions so that the final design is finally approved.
Although there is not a specific date of when to expect these new cars, it is certain that in the very near future they will be here, they will bring new investment opportunities and will take a turn towards how we look at and use air mobility, possibly helping to decongest large cities and helping the environment using clean energy sources.
Sources: Carplane GmbH AUDI AG & Airbus Porsche AG & Boeing LILIUM GmbH (Tesla batteries) BMW-Rolls Royce & Aston Martin Volocopter GmbH