Sep 1, 2017
Tech companies are competing to develop the first viable passenger-carrying sky taxis, whether manned or pilotless, but how soon could these clever copters really be whizzing over our cities? And would you trust one? In June, its Roads and Transport Authority signed an agreement with a German start-up Volocopter to test pilotless air taxis towards the end of this year. "It's really a problem," says Janina Frankel-Yoeli vice-president of Israel's Urban Aeronautics, a firm taking a manned, combustion-engine approach to air taxis instead. But Mr Moore argues that improvements in batteries are "On the track we need for them to be there in 2023", when Uber plans to have its first 50 air taxis ready. Perhaps the biggest drag on sky taxi development is regulation. Uber's Mr Moore believes air taxis will have autonomous capability built in from 2023, but will have human pilots for the first five-to-10 years while enough data is collected to convince regulators that sky taxis are safe.
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