Rolls turbine to power sky taxis
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.
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.