Andi Dela Torre Griffiths
Air Taxis to be launched in Japan by 2023
German aircraft manufacturer Volocopter and Japan Airlines entered into an agreement earlier this year to provide air taxis in Japan by 2023.
The aim is to develop the Urban Air Mobility industry, starting with electric air taxis in the said country. These vehicles, which can carry two passengers or 450 (992 lbs.) kilograms worth of cargo, can travel 100 kilometers per hour. It offers an efficient way to travel to busy urban areas in less amount of time, without carbon emissions. It also makes it possible for faster emergency response or distribution of goods to isolated areas.
A promising collaboration
Positive outcomes are expected from the partnership of both parties since each has its own specialty; Japan Airlines has extensive experience in safe aircraft operations, while Volocopter (the pioneer of urban air mobility) has been manufacturing high-quality electric-powered aircraft for years. They are looking into launching the commercial aircrafts within three years (or by 2023), then bringing it to other prefectures and cities in Japan. Volocopter has already conducted test flights in Dubai, Helsinki, Singapore, and Germany.
Image courtesy of Volocopter
Urban Air Mobility- expected to develop in China as well
The Chinese parent company of Swedish automaker Volvo has also taken steps to bring Volocopters in China. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely Holding), also known as Geely, has become a minority investor after signing its first closing of 50 million Euro ($55.3) just last year. EHang, a Guangzhou-based autonomous aerial vehicle company, has announced that it will be launching its air taxi terminal as well, a first in the world.
Changing the way we travel
If everything goes well, we can expect air taxis to be a common sighting in the skies of Japan by 2023. Maybe we’ll see it sooner than expected in other countries too, depending on how things would work out. One of the long-term goal of Volocopter is to bring its products to megacities worldwide, after all. Other companies that also plan to do the same thing; some include SkyDrive, Uber Air, Lilium, and Joby Aviation, among others. What was once thought to be a futuristic vision has found its place in reality. One day, public air transport will find complete social acceptance and become a part of our daily lives.