I can’t decide how I feel about this. Nor can I decide if this is a scene out of the Jetson’s, or if Walt Disney’s “Tomorrowland” has come to life. Either way, the future is here. Officially, in the form of flying cars. Ok, maybe not flying cars necessarily, but definitely flying transportation for short trips. Airbus announced a few months ago that they are planning to make flying taxis a reality by the end of 2017. 2017 friends! Literally by the end of this year. Does this technology even exist? Is this even possible? I have many questions about this. Most of which can’t likely be answered. Airbus released a video demonstrating how this technology would be used:
Like I said, so many questions. I love this idea as I am a huge fan of using technology to make our lives better or easier. But what cities would support or be behind a flying taxi? And would it actually help with traffic congestion or just re-route where the traffic is going? Can these taxis hold more than one person? And if not, is carpooling a better option when it comes to traffic congestion? Is this even safe?
I like the concept in the video. A “car” picks you up from your house, like a taxi and then transports you to a launch pad of sorts. From there, you are transported in the flying portion of the taxi and taken to your final destination. My guess is that you’re limited as to where you can fly to until the infrastructure is built to support it. So you wouldn’t just be able to take one of these taxis to work, unless there was a place for the taxi to land. And maybe that’s where cities should be headed. Instead of building light rail infrastructure, shift your focus to starting and ending points for flying taxis.
Keep in mind though, that this might not be exactly what the product will look like when it’s ready to start testing. But it’s kind of a cool concept, regardless. But not necessarily a new one. Uber offered helicopter transportation services during the Grand Prix in Dubai in 2015. At a steep cost, I might add – $600/seat. It feels like we’ve been trying to get this right for years, and maybe now we have options. The CityAirbus seems to be geared towards a particular lifestyle. Instead of having a driver, you simply call up the CityAirbus. However, a Chinese company has developed a drone to carry passengers, which will begin in July in Dubai.
The EHang 184 is basically a small helicopter and you arrange for one, like a taxi. The big difference, or at least from the conceptual perspective of the City Airbus is distance. The EHang 184 can only travel for about 30 minutes. So you have to pick your destination within 31 miles of your current location. But that’s nothing to balk at. The passenger gets into the EHang and inputs their destination. It is operated by a control centre and does have a weight limit.
With all the technology and the push towards more automated systems, is something like this a good idea? We are just starting to see driver-less cars. But we don’t know what the impact of that will be in terms of numbers of cars on the roads, and how the infrastructure will change to adapt to these new concepts. The way we travel and function is going to start changing immensely over the next couple of years. What I will be interested to see is what other types of transportation options emerge as a result of this technology. Will transportation change so much that we won’t be required to do it ourselves? I’m thinking just for short commutes – to and from work or school. Will we use driver less technology, or passenger drones to get us to our destinations. Or is this too far into the future?
While writing this article, I came across an interesting concept that does make me think we are living in the age of the Jetson’s. Dubai is proposing, what they are calling a “Hyperloop”. It would take the place of needing a car, train, bus and even an airplane from what I can tell. This video is so futuristic, I feel like I’m watching a sci-fi movie.
This, to me, is incredible. Being able to travel those distances in such a short amount of time. It’s almost seamless. I love change, and I love the endless possibilities, so I find this amazing. Even just the concept. Sure, the technology might not be ready yet, but the fact that we are looking at these concepts in a real way blows my mind. What do you think? Is this good news for our future, or too close to being in TomorrowLand? If only Walt Disney could be here to see this in action.