The International Paris Air Show took place last week that witnessed Airbus’ futuristic projects involving flying taxis. The new project is expected to be developed and inducted in service by the time of the Olympics 2024 which will take place in Paris.
Aeroports de Paris (ADP) is working alongside Airbus, which has been venturing into full electric propulsion urban mobility schemes in recent years.
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury thinks that with the ever-increasing urban population, local commutes should reach out to “the third dimension” of local commute, namely, the air.
If we have the conviction that in the next five, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years low altitude is a space to be conquered, we have to put in place the conditions today. – Edward Arkwright , Aeroports de Paris (ADP) Group’s executive director general
In the face of widespread on-ground traffic jams and environmental pollution, Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft offer a new avenue.
By the end of 2019, ADP has to choose a site for a “Vertiport” with the capacity of hosting taxis from one of 10 aerodromes in the region around Paris, with the takeoff interval between each flying taxi being around 6 minutes, ideally.
Arkwright stated that making the venue ready in 18 months, as per the plan, would require infrastructure investment of some ten million euros ($11.3 million).
Last week, Airbus showcased two prototype models of the VTOLs- the single-seater ‘Vahana’ and the four-seater variant ‘CityAirbus’. The CEO of the company Faury stated that “the two projects will converge towards a vehicle that will respond to first cases of use.
This partnership is a unique opportunity to develop technological solutions, a product, a regulatory framework, an economic model. – Faury, CEO
Jean-Louis Rassineux, head of aeronautics and defense issues for Deloitte, has expressed that this project would reduce both infrastructural and air traffic constraints. Moreover, the project plans to test out the link “via an existing helicopter corridor,” which means experimenting in a specific air corridor.
Development of battery power, anti-collision detection, and challenges posed by compatibility and traffic regulation as well as public acceptance must also be worked out for this project to come to fruition.
Rassineux emphasized on the need for “security levels as stringent as those for air traffic” as well as “real value added to existing transport” systems.
Elisabeth Borne, the transport minister of France, cautioned that there is still a long way to go before the integration of a flying vehicle into urban transportation happens, even while speaking in favor of “the emergence of a complete transport offering” that is environment-friendly.
Deloitte has estimated the size of the airborne taxi market at some $17 billion for the United States alone through to 2040.