Robot car "will take a while": Will air taxis soon enrich the cityscape?

Robot car "will still take"
Will air taxis soon enrich the cityscape?

The traffic of the future should be fully automated in many areas. People are expected to be transported by air taxi as early as the middle of the decade. Even the automotive industry considers such transport drones to be more realistic than autonomous cars.

The Free Now driving service expects air taxis to be available in cities before self-driving cars. An exception could be automatic vehicles on their own lanes, restricted Free Now boss Marc Berg at an appearance at the DLD All Stars innovation conference. "But autonomous cars that really find their way through heavy traffic – that will take a while." Free Now, a joint venture between BMW and Daimler, also wants to integrate air taxis into its platform.

The head of the air taxi developer Volocopter, Florian Reuter, said at the conference that fully automatic flights with the small machines are likely to be widespread in the next five to ten years. The European aviation safety authority EASA also considers the use of drones and air taxis to be realistic by the middle of the decade. In terms of price, a flight should not be a luxury trip, as Reuter explained to "Focus". A flight is around 60 euros – "comparable to what a taxi costs on the route today".

EASA is already working on the approval of Lilium and Volocopter flying taxis. Companies around the world, including the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, are in a costly race for the first air taxi offer. Lilium and Volocopter are said to have a good chance of playing an important role in this, even if it will take some time. Volocopter filed for approval in the United States in December. Lilium's small electric aircraft is scheduled to hit the market in 2025. In addition, online retailers and logistics companies are testing the use of drones for parcel delivery.

The German car manufacturer Volkswagen also wants to launch an air taxi in China. "Beyond autonomous driving, the concept of vertical mobility could be the next step to lead our mobility approach into the future, especially in the technically affine Chinese market," announced the group. VW wants to develop a kind of drone that should make it possible to open up this future market for individual mobility, said VW China boss Stephan Wöllenstein.