Forget flying cars, flying taxis could be the new wave of transportation in the future and one just had its first successful test flight.
- A flying taxi created by British startup Vertical Aerospace completed its first successful test flight.
- The taxi, referred to as the VX4 aircraft, produces zero operating emissions and is able to cruise at a speed of more than 200 miles per hour and a distance of over 100 miles, according to Vertical Aerospace.
- The test flight marks the first big step as the aviation industry moves to become green.
Why it’s important
The aviation industry has been working to become green and a good way to do that—electric planes.
The VX4 uses electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) technology, which is powered by a battery rather than jet fuel making it a good zero-emission option.
Not only is this a big step for greener aviation, but also taxi travel.
Airline and tech companies have been looking to gain ground in the emerging air taxi industry, and as the aviation industry as a whole gears up to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 set by the International Air Transport Association, companies developing vehicles consuming clean fuel are garnering wide interest, according to Fortune.
The electric air taxis sector is expected to be worth $3.39 billion in 2030, according to Allied Market Research.
The successful test flight marks a huge step towards commercialization of the flying taxi.
Vertical Aerospace explained that the test run of the VX4 was conducted inside an aircraft hangar. A pilot was there to demonstrate how the aircraft is complying with safety rules. The aircraft remained tethered to the ground throughout the flight for safety while its propellers raised it off the ground.
Demand for the aircraft has risen considerably and Vertical says it plans to have full certification for the VX4 by 2025.
The company said it has already received many preorders for the anticipated aircraft. American Airlines pre-ordered 250 of the VX4s in June 2021, and Virgin Airlines ordered 150.
The price point for the air taxis is yet to be determined, but could possibly affect how much it will be used commercially.
In the beginning phases, the price of a flying taxi ride would be comparable to Uber Black services president of United Airlines Ventures, Michael Leskinen told the Wall Street Journal in August.
He gave the example of a trip from Manhattan to an airport in New York costing between $110 and $120—noting that these costs could drop over time, according to Fortune.
As flying taxis get closer to becoming a reality, businesses are working to provide a place for them to take off, land, and recharge and they’re calling it the vertiport.
While the FAA has yet to certify these low-altitude aircraft for flight, the agency’s vertiport design guidelines will help airport owners, operators and infrastructure developers begin development now so they’re built when the aircraft are ready to launch, according to Axios.
Some of the guidelines state that the vertiports should be 100 by 100 feet with a 48-by-48-foot landing pad in the middle, marked by a dedicated crosshairs symbol identifying it as a vertiport. It also states the airspace required for approach and departure, stipulating that a vertiport must be 500 feet to 700 feet away from existing commercial runways.