Volocopters plan test run for air taxis in Singapore
In all probability, hybrid vehicles have always carried an altruistic and dismayed propaganda. When you put that in perspective with air taxis, the story becomes important. As much as one would give to the chagrin of drones still not making it to the mainframe channel, air taxis claim to be a league of their own. German aircraft maker, Volocopter has already chosen Singapore to be their testing ground for autonomous air-bound vehicles. The company schedule is locked for sometime during the second half of 2019, as the civil aviation team runs a series of pre-flight checks. Reportedly, the air taxis flight will be a public demo and in the long run, will form an integral part of the city’s transportation system.
So, what exactly is an air taxi anyway?
Primarily a hybrid, an air taxi rests somewhere between a drone and a helicopter. In essence, it’s an intelligent cross of both the vehicles. It works on a total of 18 rotors which helps in its movement from one place to another. For starters, the machine has been designed with a seating capacity of two and can cover a distance of 30kms. However, you will have to deal with occasional micro air turbulences as you soar high and fly past the city’s skyline. Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter told the media about Singapore being a logical partner owing to its penchant for fine line engineering that has contributed to the all round development of the city. With air taxis soon becoming a reality, Singapore is destined to add another feather to the glory of being a smart city. Prior to Singapore, Volocopter has already tested air taxis on the German soil and have had moderate success with a preliminary permit. In 2016, it also successfully ran a few public flights accessing the potential of the vehicles. Only last year, Dubai witnessed another successful autonomous flight. If Volocopter manages to have success with air taxi flights in Singapore, aerial commuting shall no more remain a far cry.
Up in the Air
It’s a crucial juncture as the fate of public transportation deemed to witness a touch of sophistication, rests low on optimism. You see, Volocopter is not the lone player in the game.
San Francisco’s popular company for ride-hailing, Uber already has plans in the air for the Indian subcontinent. Another prominent name in the business is Kitty Hawk, (another brainchild of Google’s Larry Page) which unveiled their Cora Vehicle earlier in 2018.
There’s no denying the fact that aerial taxis are a fine option for any city that experiences daily episodes of traffic congestion. Indian cities qualify almost readily as in peak hours– it takes around an hour to cover a 10-minute ride. Traffic congestions are not only annoying to an individual alone. Major Indian cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore accounts over Rs.1.5 lakh crore loss to economy owing to the traffic jam in peak hours of the day. Bangalore have had a flight service from the Electronic Complex to the Kempegowda International Airport charging approximately 4000 INR per passenger. A hell-Taxi service has also existed in the Chandigarh-Shimla route which effectively brought down the travel time to 20 minutes from four hours. So, all this hoopla does throw in a positive appetite. The question is, does the offering gain ground with the masses? High net worth individuals are definitely the target group, but it’s most likely that Uber or any other company will restructure tariffs to ensure maximum consumer adoption, in this case. Even though one surpasses such initial challenges, a long string of barriers on both regulatory and bureaucratic front shall act to make air taxis a farfetched dream for our country.