Electric self-flying taxi Airspeeder to take off in January
American start-up Skylys Aircraft has presented the prototype for its autonomous vertical take-off and landing electric drone called ‘Airspeeder’. The first flight is planned for January with further development during the year and a real-life demonstration at the Abu Dhabi 2020 expo.
While they were only present in comic books and science fiction movies ten to fifteen years ago, ‘flying taxis’ will become a reality in the near future. Major actors of the aeronautic sector see in them the solution to reduce congestion in big cities. Ride-hailing company, Uber, hopes to make it a reality by 2023, and important companies have started developing their own, such as Airbus, Huawei, Boeing or Rolls-Royce.
Vertical take-off and landing
American company, Skykys Aircraft, created in 2017 by nine major founders, including French engineer Gary Chorostecki, will enter the full-scale test phase in January with its flying taxi. With its name borrowed from a Star Wars shuttle, the Airspeeder is an electric passenger drone with vertical take-off and landing capability (e-VTOL).
Next month, the company will test the single-seater version but Skylys plans on developing other versions capable of transporting up to three passengers or freight. These drones will be able to fly with or without a pilot for around 150 kilometres or 50 minutes at speeds up to 240 kph.
New urban mobility solution
Next year, testing on the prototype will continue, while the three-seater version is developed. Skylys hopes the Airspeeder single-seater prototype will convince investors and potential customers.
The start-up has imagined the installation of an Airspeeder Airport network on the roof of major cities’ buildings all around the world. According to designers, they could count up to 25 shuttles. With that in mind, Skylys hopes to meet Uber’s flying taxi specifications and be ready to the 2020 Abu Dhabi Expo.