Few things can be more frustrating than getting stuck in traffic. Five minutes in rush hour and we’re already dreaming of flying cars, like the Jetsons, the famous cartoons of the ’60s. But can these cars be a reality soon?
In the technological market, there is a growing demand for this type of innovation.
Vertical detachment and landing electric planes, or eV-TOL, descolam from the ground, hover and land vertically. They are also environmentally friendly since they are completely electrical and built not to produce direct emissions of carbon dioxide.
According to the IBA, a company providing aviation data and analyses for the financing of aviation and airlines, the market for these aircraft is expected to increase over EUR 21 billion by 2035. With these amounts, investors have their eyes on the sky.
More than 50 companies are currently developing several prototype aircraft with the ability to transport up to 20 passengers. Among them is the Turkish AirCar start-up.
Since its founding in 2017, AirCar has been looking for ways to get out of traffic jams. Headquartered in the Turkish version of Sillicon Valley, AirCar has a partnership with the country’s largest software manufacturer.
Instead of waiting for the construction of larger roads and better public transport, the company is putting the bar more up, literally. Its ultimate goal is to have a network of flying taxis entirely powered by electricity and without driver.
After more than a thousand small-scale trials, tests on a real-size prototype began this year. According to executive director Eray Altunbozar, the company expects to start transporting passengers in early 2025.
But there are still barriers to overcome. One is the dimension of current public transport.
As Andreas Bardenhagen explains, a professor at the Technical University of Berlin, if we compare the number of passengers a train, or a bus can carry the capacity of a modern-day helicopter is much smaller. The transport of hundreds of people in flying taxis, for example, would imply “a very crowded airspace”. And the expert doubts that the public accepts that.
Another complication is the national and international regulations relating to flying devices. Phil Seymour. President of IBA, says that all “the countries around the world have regulators that follow strict manufacturing guidelines”.
While ensuring the existence of a safety and regulation network, these regulators may delay plans for a conventional flying taxi service.
Transportation of large loads will also be possible
When deliveries demand greater capacity, the French company, Flying Whales, says it has the solution. Its huge drive can not only carry useful loads of 60 tons in long distances, but also can do it sustainably.
The executive director, Sebastien Bougon, even says that the company can revolutionize the health industry, thanks to high-capacity rigibles that can turn into hospitals, in remote areas, and thus provide “the same quality of health care as large cities”.
Flying cars and the new means of air transport are no longer a fantasy. Millions of euros are already financing dozens of new companies worldwide. But will the sector continue to be a novelty for rich or can it truly transform the way we all travel? Only one thing is certain, a change is in the air.