If you haven’t already realized it, we are currently living in the future. Technology that was previously only imagined in science fiction has become so commonplace that we take it for granted daily. However, there is one thing that is notably absent from our futuristic present, and that is the flying automobiles that I was informed would be available for purchase.
Because the one thing that both utopian and dystopian visions of our future seem to agree on is that we’ll be flying around our cities by now, the vast majority of us who don’t own private helicopters still move around at or below ground level, frequently stuck in traffic jams.
However, over the last decade, a growing number of bootstrapped entrepreneurs and industry heavyweights have raised and spent a colossal amount of money on urban air mobility, a new method of transportation that is becoming increasingly popular. Could these autonomous people who are ferrying super drones be the long-awaited flying automobiles that we’ve all been waiting for?
Increase the speed at which we are moving
There are, in my opinion, two factors that are driving the investment and attention paid to the sector. People are relocating to cities, and that cities are becoming more overcrowded, and the reality that urban populations are increasing. Because I used to own automobiles, anything that can transport an urban population from point A to point B is of interest to investors.
This was especially noticeable in the case of the micro-mobility solutions. It happened with shared mobility solutions, as well. The next logical step is the implementation of shared aviation solutions. The concept of urban air transport is not completely new.
Hovering and gliding above traffic in large urban centers such as New York, San Francisco, and Sao Paulo has been a popular pastime for those with the financial means for decades.
Previous attempts to transform helicopters into a mode of mass transit, on the other hand, have come to naught, owing mostly to the inevitability of helicopter technology-related issues such as noise, inefficiency, and hazards. As a result of these concerns, many communities have either restricted or prohibited helicopter travel entirely, except for limited applications, such as in emergencies.
But imagine a future in which, instead of driving your car or hopping on a city bus, subway, or taxi, you could book a flight on a sleek, safe, and relatively quiet electric-powered drone, such as the Evie, short for electric vertical takeoff and landing. This would significantly reduce your transit time. If we start with a zero point, 1 percent of all Americans who drive in their automobiles from work to home, and we assume that’s going to be our addressable market, we have a very good idea of where we’re heading. We’re talking about 100,000 passengers per year at this point.
More or less, to be honest. They must be relocated if we consider that this aircraft can transport four to five passengers and that they make four to five journeys per day. As an example, we would require approximately 5000 of these planes, which gives you an idea of the enormous possibilities we have here.
Unsurprisingly, given the size of the potential market, the field is quite saturated. It is estimated that around 180 companies are working on some form of RV toll. Because a large number of them are drum throne developers, it all comes down to size. If I can construct a tiny model, I should scale it up to a larger model. A Chinese startup created in 2014, Izzy, is one of these drone-turned-megacorporations that has already secured a position on the NASDAQ.
From the beginning, we created large drones to transport passengers, correct? Second, you can see that the technique is one-on-one for conventional drawings, which is a great advantage.
This means that a single individual must control each pulled butter for our benefit. We plan on using technology to control a large number of devices. Visit multiple locations at the same time by utilizing a single platform. Yihang recently received approval from the Korean government to conduct test flights Oversoul, and the business demonstrated its prototype during the 3 Hour Tour.
Even though Yihang is constructing its remote control prototype to apply to various applications, ranging from medical evacuations to sightseeing, it is this so-called last 10-mile problem that appears to be the ripest for disrupting operations.
For example, if you wanted to travel to Beijing via train, you would do so, correct? Isn’t it true that the train takes an entire one or two hours? If you decide to take a taxi after the train, you should be aware that it will take another hour or maybe two hours to get to your location, which makes no sense.
However, if you can transfer your AAV correctly, you will get to your location in around 15 minutes. That is quite impressive. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a German company called Volocopter has spent the better part of a decade developing a fleet of prototypes that have recently been flying over cities both domestically and internationally in demonstrations.
We are quite realistic in our approach. We set out to create a vehicle that could meet the stringent safety requirements that could be certified using current technology available at the time of development. That is how the Voloocopter was born: we specifically designed it as a multicopter cross idea, which means it has 18 separate rotors, which provides us with a very high degree of redundancy.
So if any one of the three rotors fails, we can still safely complete our mission, giving us a significant safety advantage over any other concept, particularly on an urban mission, which is concerned with, you know, safely transporting people from A to B in an urban context while keeping the environment as quiet as possible.
We believe that the multicopter concept is the most appropriate solution for that particular mission scenario. There may be other missions that necessitate the use of other design approaches. The ambitious aspirations of the helicopter industry have piqued the interest of several significant corporations from a variety of different sectors of the transportation industry.
But just three companies have participated in investment rounds for the Volocopter: China’s Geely, Germany’s Daimler, and, most recently, Japan Airlines. Together, they have raised well over €100 million in total. When setting a launch date for E vehicles, the Volocopter appears to be the most advanced of all the businesses currently working on the technology. Currently, Reservations are being accepted for flights beginning as early as 2023 at an introductory price of around €300.
Obstacle In Our Path
However, the primary obstacle that could cause a snag in that schedule isn’t purely technological. This is a really dangerous situation. You know, the way of transportation. You have to make sure that all key stakeholders are participating, which means that we’re really relying on the work of the regulators and, you know, establishing their trust at this point. So we talk to them all the time and ask if they and we are on the same page about our vision.
Do we have a representative from the Civil Aviation Authority on board?
Do we have an airspace manager with us on the plane?
You must ensure that all of your stakeholders are on the same page since any one of them has the potential to prevent you from reaching your goal. The fact that the criteria provided by regulatory authorities are evolving in sync with the technology itself adds to the difficulty of obtaining regulatory approval for civilians carrying EV tools. They must be in good working order.
Batteries will be used to power this aircraft, and batteries must be approved as safe for use in aircraft for this specific use before they can be used in aircraft.
According to the company, the Volocopter Ehang and other well-heeled EVs, such as the Lilium and Joey, take a slightly different approach to engineering and developing an all-electric passenger drone.
For example, other concepts are more of a hybrid between an EV and a tiny plane that can navigate crowded urban environments and fly long distances at speeds of up to approximately 200 miles per hour, among other things.
As a result, while some engineering solutions to problems like battery capacity are quite novel, such as Valla catchers and hot-swapping charging stations, the ultimate test of a battery vehicle’s practicality is proving its safety in several and settings.
So, even if TV high technology eventually clears those regulatory hurdles, the market’s viability in this relatively new environment remains a critical question.
Who exactly are these four individuals?
When we look at Elon Musk’s master plan, the first edition was released in 2006; we can see that he was very specific. For example, he stated that he intended to develop an expensive car to assist in paying a less expensive automobile to assist in the payment of a mass-market car.
As a result, I believe we will see something similar in this category, where corporations will provide services to high-end clients. However, in the end, this will subsidize technology, allowing everyone to have access to it in the long run.
The widespread use of urban air transport, on the other hand, may present its own set of challenges. Once the product becomes more widely available, and more people begin to use it, we are concerned that it will drive users away from public transportation in cities, which will have negative consequences, in our opinion, primarily because it will simply shift congestion from the road to the sky before we get to that point, even though these companies face yet another technical challenge in integrating urban air mobility into the existing transportation infrastructure in cities.
Uber Air Cab
Uber is capitalizing on its own learning experience by developing a breakthrough ridesharing platform that will allow them to take its technology into a third dimension and beyond. And they’re not even waiting for EV tools to get started back in the quaint pandemic days of late 2019, which I provided their Uber copter service world as an example of what I mean.
All right, we’re on our way to JFK International Airport. Working every day, we’re really thinking about this as a version 0.1 of our vision for the future Uber Air product, which we’re calling “Uber Air 0.1.” This basic element, which we believe to be the most significant lesson that we are currently building, is the most significant item.
This is comparable to the core experience of many modalities. So we have real multi-modality, and we just need to push one button to activate the product. We dispatched the first-mile car helicopter in the mile car in order to transport passengers bidirectionally from downtown to JFK. And we’re doing it all behind the scenes, thanks to the technology we’ve developed.
It is, without a doubt, immensely satisfying to soar above New York City’s seething rush hour traffic and land on the JFK airport’s landing pad in less than ten minutes. Where are the cars that will take you directly to your terminal waiting for you? Despite this, even Uber recognizes that once the service’s novelty has worn off, it must be economically viable for people to accept it.
Economics of These Flying Cars
Because of the economics of these cars, we will be able to push and bring them to be a much more accessible product that a broader range of people in various parts of the world can use regularly.
We truly believe that, in the long run, we will be able to reach the stage where we will be able to fly.
In terms of the marginal cost of ownership, these types of aerial networks can be competitive with driving your car and owning a car. It’s not going to happen right away, and it’s not going to happen in the medium term, but we believe that, in the long run, we can actually make flying in this type of fashion kind of an economically rational thing for most people to do on a daily basis.
Urban air mobility is still in its early stages, despite the luxurious rooftop heliports and bustling metropolitan skylines seen in the illustrations. Puts pressure on companies who are competing for survival. Given the complexity of the solution and the complexity of the regulatory framework, we do not anticipate a highly diversified ecology in the long run. We are more than likely to see a handful of them. A small number of manufacturers and developers collaborate with a small number of service providers.
Uber handed over its grandiose elevated project to Joey, the current EV valuation king, in late 2020, and that consolidation appears to have already begun.
Joey has amassed roughly $1 billion in assets in its own name thus far. Aerospace giants Boeing and Airbus seem to be taking a step back from their tests. Some of the smaller firms have completely gone, leaving behind expired domain names and defunct Crunchbase profiles to mark their passing.
As the field narrows, technology matures, and laws are sorted out, the field will become more competitive. This recurring sci-fi daydream may one day be replaced by a more mundane mode of transportation for moving around.
Whether he or she is a resident of the city or a tourist in the city, the consumer is at the heart of how we foresee this playing out. Their mobile phone has a mobility requirement, and he just receives a selection of numerous modes of transportation.
Each has a price point associated with it and a level of comfort and predictability associated with it. After that, he decides on the format that is most appropriate for him. And, of course, we’re working extremely hard to ensure that they have as many options as possible.