Rolls tur­bine to power sky taxis

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

FARN­BOR­OUGH (Eng­land) — Bri­tish jet en­gine maker Rolls-Royce has de­signed a propul­sion sys­tem for a fly­ing taxi and is start­ing a search for part­ners to help de­velop a project it hopes could take to the skies as soon as early next decade.

Rolls-Royce said on Sun­day it had drawn up plans for an elec­tric ver­ti­cal take-off and land­ing (EVTOL) ve­hi­cle, or fly­ing taxi, which could carry four to five peo­ple at speeds of up to 400 km/h for ap­prox­i­mately 800 km.

These pas­sen­ger-car­ry­ing drones are no longer lim­ited to sci­ence fic­tion. Roll-Royce, which cur­rently makes en­gines for planes, he­li­copters and ships, joins a va­ri­ety of com­pa­nies rac­ing to de­velop fly­ing taxis, in­clud­ing Air­bus, Uber in the U.S., Volo­copter in Ger­many and sev­eral start-ups like Kitty Hawk, Pas­sen­ger Drone, and Work­horse.

Volo­copter’s all-elec­tric drone is be­ing eval­u­ated for use by Dubai’s Roads and Trans­port Au­thor­ity to de­ploy over that city.

Rolls-Royce said its proven M250 gas tur­bine will gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity to power six elec­tric “propul­sors” spe­cially de­signed to have a low noise pro­file.

Rolls-Royce said its de­sign could use ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture such as he­li­ports and air­ports.

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

This ‘hover coupe’ con­cept from Rome-based de­sign firm Laz­zarini shows what fly­ing cars could look like in the near fu­ture as more than half a dozen com­pa­nies race to be first with drones that can trans­port peo­ple.

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