Get an up­lift­ing ride with ‘air taxis’

NewsMail - - LIFE -

IT’S the fu­tur­is­tic ‘air taxi’ that’s been touted as the ‘Uber of the sky’ and the an­swer to our road grid­lock hell.

Texas-based he­li­copter com­pany Bell un­veiled the ‘ur­ban air taxi’, which looks like it’s straight out of the Jet­sons, at the world’s big­gest tech show CES in Las Ve­gas last week.

They say the con­ges­tion-bust­ing air taxi will cut a 1.5-hour com­mute in a car to a six-minute flight and, un­like he­li­copters, be af­ford­able for the gen­eral pub­lic to ride.

The air taxi, which is like a drone crossed with a he­li­copter, has been de­signed to be qui­eter and more com­fort­able than a chopper.

It will use an elec­tric or hy­brid propul­sion sys­tem and be fit­ted with a lux­ury in­te­rior in­clud­ing in­ter­net con­nec­tion so peo­ple can work from the air.

Bell in­no­va­tion man­ager Mike Ryan said as pop­u­la­tions con­tin­ued to grow and road in­fra­struc­ture strug­gled un­der in­creas­ing con­ges­tion, more peo­ple would look to fly from A to B.

He said Bell en­vis­aged air taxis would roll out at ver­ti­ports or he­li­pads across cities where the pub­lic could book their trans­port just like they do on ride-shar­ing apps.

Bell is al­ready in dis­cus­sions with Uber about an air trans­porta­tion net­work.

Bell said while the first taxis would be pi­loted, the com­pany was work­ing to­ward an au­tonomous model.

Full scale test­ing is al­ready un­der­way and the com­pany is on track to re­lease a demon­stra­tor air taxi by the mid 2020s.


Ur­ban air taxi.

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