SPAIN'S midsummer traffic exodus has started ahead of tomorrow's bank holiday and over 7.8 million cars are expected to be on the roads between now and midnight on Sunday. The General Directorate of Traffic...
'Flying taxi' prototype developed in Spain
By thinkSPAIN Team Sat, Jul 20, 2019
THE first-ever driverless flying taxi prototype developed in Spain has been unveiled and could be 'on the road' within five years.
With a capsule cabin measuring 1.8 by two metres (5'11” by 6'7”) that includes a back door and upper window, the Aerotaxi is powered by four drones – two above and two below – each of which has four engines.
It is designed for short trips across towns and cities, flies at a low altitude, and could be in use once all the necessary testing phases are complete and the necessary legislation put in place – a process which may feasibly be successfully concluded by around mid-2024.
Presented at the Tecnalia centre for technology in San Sebastián in the Basque Country, the Aerotaxi is one of six prototypes of its kind in the world and is the third in Europe to be developed, with Germany and France having done so first.
The first test flights with people inside are expected to be carried out in the USA and Japan, pioneered in major cities such as Los Angeles and Tokyo.
Two members of the 25-strong project team, Joseba Lasa and Iñaki Iglesias, say the Aerotaxi is designed to carry up to 150 kilos (23st 8lb, or 330lb) – a weight that can be either human or in the shape of goods delivery, or both – although the plans have been created so they can be adapted to larger models able to carry up to four human passengers.
They are aimed at covering journeys of a maximum of 15 kilometres in 10 to 15 minutes, travelling at 60 to 90 kilometres per hour and at an altitude of between 100 and 300 metres, but would be able to reach speeds of up to 190 kilometres per hour, depending upon how the legal framework covering their use pans out.
Aerotaxis would be able to take off from and land in very limited spaces – 'about the size of a conventional car-parking space', say Lasa and Iglesias – and would be able to withstand extreme conditions of wind and rain.
Although it is early days to decide upon the type of service Aerotaxis would operate, the creators imagine them along the same lines as Uber – on-demand transport located by mobile phone or by sight from the street – but they also believe they have potential for emergency transport or goods delivery.
To be competitive and based upon production costs whilst taking into account economies of scale if they 'take off' as a transport option, Aerotaxis would need to cost around €30,000 to €50,000 apiece to buy.
Contracting them would not be cheap – around €30 to €40 per ride – although this would be comparable with or only slightly higher than conventional road-based taxi services.
Aerotaxi photograph by Tecnalia on Twitter (@tecnalia)
You may also be interested in ...
More Transport (inc Motoring) content
A LORRY driver strike in Portugal which has left petrol stations in the country running dry has turned out to be a great business boost for some of those in Spain. HGV drivers who specialise in transporting hazardous...
TOMORROW (Thursday) marks the start of another holiday exodus in Spain, and over 2.9 million cars are expected to be on the roads at any point between this evening and midnight on August 1. Over half of these – 1.55...
MOTORCYCLISTS and moped-riders may be required by law to wear gloves, could lose extra points for not wearing a helmet and will be encouraged to fit airbags, as part of the traffic authority's draft plans for...