Flying Taxis

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Flying Taxis

The first flying taxi stations are opening in 2020. Electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft operators promise to make flying taxis available and affordable to everyone—and to alleviate traffic congestion in the process. Several companies built proof of concept designs for aircraft that would take off vertically, fly horizontally and fly short distances at an affordable price around metropolitan areas, and some are already flying. In late 2019, the Volocopter 2X made its first public flight in Singapore. EHang debuted a flying taxi that is rated to carry 575 lbs for 30 minutes at 80 miles per hour. Berlin-based Lilium is building a production facility for its new electric aircraft. Kitty Hawk, a startup funded by Google’s Larry Page and run by Sebastian Thrun, who previously launched Google’s self-driving car unit, entered into a joint venture with Boeing to launch flying taxi service Wisk. In February 2020, Wisk signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of New Zealand to start trials with its self-flying electric aircraft Cora. A number of other companies are working on such technology, including Airbus, Joby and Toyota. NASA is working with the Federal Aviation Administration on an Urban Air Mobility, or UAM, project to create the groundwork for the safety and security of this new short-distance aircraft. Uber has also provided guidelines for vertical takeoff and landing crafts to be able to travel at up to 200 miles per hour, at an altitude of 1,000 to 2,000 feet, and have a range of 60 miles. Uber’s service is envisioned to serve concerts, festivals, and green spaces. (Today, you can book an Uber helicopter to include car service to and from heliports.)