Feasibility study considers the use of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL)
What might have once sounded like a scene from a futuristic fiction film might very well become a reality within the next five years. Paris could become one of the first cities to implement flying taxis into its public transport network, just in time for the 2024 Olympics.
The feasibility study is organised by several stakeholders, including planemaker Airbus, RATP transport operator, Groupe ADP, the Paris Ile-de-France region, and the French civil aviation authority (DGAC).
The project explores the possibility of using vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). VTOL technology combines the advantages of helicopters and planes. It uses electrically driven rotors to allow the vehicle to hover, take off and land vertically.
Apart from the technology of VTOL, the project is based on a number of technological building blocks such as electric propulsion and autonomy to meet requirements for energy and sustainable development.
Other things the study looks at include design, maintenance, urban integration, infrastructure and low-altitude air traffic management. Moreover, the flying vehicles should be “accessible to as many people as possible”.
“Autonomous flights are no longer the reserve of science-fiction. We are developing technology demonstrators to allow populations to connect faster,” said Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus.
“We already have the technical blocks but we have to align them and integrate them into the user’s everyday life without compromising safety, which is our priority.
“RATP is one of the major players in urban mobility. Its knowledge regarding passengers, their needs and related services, make them the ideal partner for Airbus,” he added.
Major world cities consider the implementation of urban air mobility
— Uber (@Uber) June 11, 2019
Airbus and RATP are toying with the possibility of expanding their product to other major cities around the world.
Airbus has already entered the on-demand mobility sector with its Voom service based on the use of helicopters in urban areas. It is also developing vehicle prototypes which are 100 per cent electric and produce zero carbon dioxide emissions.
Airbus is not the first to play with the idea of urban air mobility. Uber is developing its own vehicle with its Uber Air Programme. It has plans to start its air service in both Australia and the US. Commercial operations are set to begin in Los Angeles, Dallas and Melbourne by 2023.