A much better description would be unmanned drones, but given the sound of both options, it’s easy to understand why “flying car” wins. There are multiple companies involved in the development of VTOLs (Vertical Take of and Landing), with some of the big names in the industry – like Airbus or Boeing – showing up on the radar as well.
For instance, Uber has recently announced a partnership with NASA (yes, that NASA) which will see the ride-sharing company begin to deploy its air taxis in a handful of cities around the world. Guess what: one of them is Dubai.
However, it seems like the newcomers are making even more progress, and that’s probably down to aiming a little bit lower. Volocopter has been around for a while (we first reported on it in April 2016), but it has quickly gone from crazy unrealistic project to becoming the world’s first flying taxi.
The beast uses 18 rotors to lift itself and two passengers off the ground and uses GPS tracks to navigate once in the air. The company says it plans to install a full array of sensors to make sure it won’t bump into obstacles or a fellow flying taxi, once the business takes off.
By the end of 2017, the Volocopter will start a five-year-long pilot program in Dubai where it will ferry people around to test its viability. The German company – which also enjoys the backing of Daimler – promises it would feature redundancy systems (extra batteries, additional rotors) as well as two parachutes – though we fear the need to use them would spell the end of the project.