As the population across the globe increases, town planners are faced with numerous challenges in planning and building urban infrastructures that are not only smart but also make judicious use of fast-depleting natural resources. Drone taxi can be a good transportation option that can fit well into the overall urban infrastructure planning.
Drone taxi is a much larger version of the toy drones we fly at home. It is a pilotless helicopter that can fly at a speed of around 130 km/hour and can land anywhere in the city, enabling people to reach their destinations much faster. This will not only reduce commute times, but also beat traffic congestion and reduce the pressure on existing transport systems.
A fast-developing market
According to a Morgan Stanley report the autonomous urban aircraft market will likely reach $1.5 trillion by 2040. There are a number of contenders in the drone taxi space including Dubai’s eHang 184, Airbus Vahana, Bell Nexus, SureFly, Passenger Drone, Boeing PAV, and KittyHawk Flyer. Big brands like Hyundai, Boeing, Toyota, and Uber as well as some startups have entered the space and are developing the market.
Drone taxis have taken off in Vienna, Helsinki; and China held a demonstration of an autonomous aerial vehicle with 17 passengers on board. In India, ePlane is under development while Singapore plans to launch its first aerial taxi by 2023. All these activities indicate that drone taxis can become a common sight in the near future, contingent to fulfilling the legal and safety requirements.
Challenges along the way
While the race for commercialization is on, drone taxis face a number of challenges including danger to the passengers and other aircrafts. They are also prone to hacking, given their reliance on software for control and command.
Regulators around the world are creating sandboxes where experiments can be performed. They are also working on regulations to ensure vehicle safety, traffic control, software security, licensing norms, and noise pollution.
The article has been written by Neetu Katyal, Content and Marketing Consultant
She can be reached on LinkedIn.