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Electric and eVTOL aircraft are the embodiment of the flying car, invoking “The Jetsons” and capturing the public imagination. Despite many experiments, a mainstream flying car is no closer to widespread use. These vehicles, which are effectively giant passenger drones, are designed for commuting around or between cities, as well as regionally. They present an opportunity to relieve congestion and can provide a more carbon-neutral option for transportation. However, investments in this space have slowed in recent years, and the money coming in has focused on uses in manufacturing operations. Stellantis (owner of Chrysler, Citroën, Fiat, Peugeot, and Vauxhall) has agreed to contract manufacture the Midnight eVTOLs for the startup Archer. Few aircraft have cleared even portions of regulatory approvals to get these vehicles into the air. However, Dubai recently announced it will host an Advanced Air Mobility integrator center, providing a dedicated space for companies to test eVTOLs, establishing Dubai as the leader in this technology. It will also give governments, regulators, and competing companies a singular point to focus their research and observe how this technology evolves. An autonomous battery-powered aerial vehicle designed to function as a taxi service. Flying between 1,000 and 2,000 feet (0.61 km), these aerial vehicle models can carry two people. Using multicopters powered by electric batteries, they can reach top speeds of up to 100 miles per hour (160.93 km/h). The propellers fold inward as it lands, allowing the vehicle to fit into a single parking space, opening up flexible pick-up locations for people to order self-driving aerial taxis. Integrated through wireless connectivity to a platform that monitors the routes, users that need a ride would simply request it through a mobile app by tracking the nearest vehicle. Equipped with Machine Vision, the aircraft can autonomously detect any obstacles and easily maneuver whenever needed. The data gathered from the routes are later fed into an algorithmic structure that leverages the vehicle performance, thus giving engineers insights for further improvements. The vehicle is equipped with safety gadgets such as encrypted communication channels, emergency parachutes, and a "fail-safe" system that prompts an emergency landing at the nearest possible location in the event of a malfunction. Despite being designed mostly to transport individual passengers, these aerial vehicles could also be used to move goods, thus easing urban congestion in on-ground traffic. For cities to encapsulate and adapt to aerial vehicles, a whole new set of aviation laws and policies need to be developed accordingly. Flight areas once dedicated merely to helicopters and private jets, would need to accommodate these vehicles, thus leading to flight operations to rearrange flight dynamics. Besides, this vehicle could also be inserted into public transportation services, alleviating the number of on-ground vehicles that are much responsible for a considerable portion of CO2 emissions. It would give the world an alternative to substitute fossil fuel vehicles and help individuals to move about the city sustainably.

Self-driven Airborne Taxi

KEY TRENDS

Road to Autonomy