The question is not ‘IF’ flying cars will become reality… but ‘WHEN’! The air taxis being developed by Bosch will offer a new way of avoiding traffic in large cities by using airspace. In this sense, they are yet another alternative for getting around tomorrow’s urban areas quickly.
“The first air taxis will take off in the major metropolises by 2023. Bosch wants to be among the industry leaders who will shape this future market!” is the statement by Harald Kröger, President of Bosch’s Automotive Electronics division.
Traditional aerospace technology is too expensive, bulky and heavy to be used in autonomous airplanes, but Bosch can put its solution to good use at a low cost by using modern sensors that they have been developing and producing for years for the automotive sector. The sensor box is equipped with MEMS sensors, short for microelectromechanical systems, which measure the movements of the aircraft. Bosch’s sensors are also particularly small and lightweight, and airplane manufacturers will be able to easily install the sensor box in aircraft using the plug-and-play principle.
The first test flights of electric air taxis will rise in the cities of Dubai, Los Angeles, Dallas and Singapore in 2020. Experts expect commercial operations to begin in 2023. Pilots will probably be on board for the first flights, but the light aircraft could start flying autonomously as early as 2025, controlled by ground staff. By then around 3,000 air taxis will be operating worldwide, a number that will grow to 12,000 by 2030 and almost 100,000 by 2050.
Depending on the concept and the number of passenger seats, an air taxi will cost around 500,000 euros. Consequently, autonomous and electric aircraft offer advantages, particularly for sharing solutions. However, an air taxi costs much less than a comparable helicopter equipped with today’s technology. It is therefore important that suppliers make available reliable technology that is not only easy to install, but also offers an economic advantage over traditional aerospace technology.
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