Urban Air Mobility
Continued from Flux Trends’ 6 Trends for 2019...
While self-driving taxi services are set to become a reality in Phoenix, Arizona and in Helsinki in 2019, discussions about the next frontier of urban mobility – passenger drones – are already taking place. In a report titled Unmanned Traffic Management, Airbus is already assessing the increase in commercial air traffic in the next few years. By the end of 2017, approximately 15 companies had already completed test flights of their passenger drones (aka air taxis). Airbus is working on not one but three models, while another company, Liberty Pioneer, offered pre-sales of its model last year.
So, while we won’t be seeing airborne taxis in 2019, it is the year legislators, city planners and developers actively plot the future of urban air mobility. Uber is working with NASA on its air taxi service, Elevate. NASA will use Uber’s data to simulate how small passenger drones navigate urban air space, specifically in LA and Dallas, the two cities that have agreed to host early tests of Uber’s air service.
The Indian government has also approved a passenger drone policy, making Mumbai the first city in India to accommodate air taxis. In Miami, property developer Dan Kodsi has started modifying a new 60-storey high-rise to accommodate a roof-top sky port, in preparation for VTOL (vertical-take-off and landing, the technology all flying taxis use). Urban rooftops are set to become a prized commodity for property owners and developers.
Above: Uber animation illustrating urban air mobility.
By: Dion Chang and Khumo Theko
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