First efficient and ecological air taxi prototype in SpainAugust 16, 2019
The company TECNALIA has developed the first autopilot air taxi prototype in Spain. The air taxi is provided with 4 drones and 16 engines designed to move a passenger on short trips across the city.
This model is designed in order to fly lower over the sky of some cities and become a transport mean within urban areas. This air taxi consists of a capsule-shaped aerodynamic cabin with a back door and an upper window.
The cabin is 1.8 meters by 2 meters long and it’s formed by four drones placed on the top and bottom of the ship and constituted by four engines for each that allow its movement.
This prototype has been created in order to do urban trips of a maximum of 15 kilometres in about 15 minutes at 90 kilometres per hour, although it could reach speeds of up to 190 and at a height of 100 to 300 meters.
In this way, the transportation needs of the urban centre of 85% of all the cities in the world would be covered. Moreover, this model is used for the transfer of a person (but it can also reach up to 4 people) or loads of up to 150 kilograms.
According to the designers, the drones move independently but in coordination with each other, which works out well for the stability, efficiency and control of the cabin thanks to an advanced control system.
One of the advantages of this new prototype is that the cabin can maintain its own orientation regardless of speed. From the dynamic point of view, this improves the flight experience and makes it similar to that one of a car or a bus.
The final product includes positioning and communication technologies alike the rest of self-piloted vehicles. In addition, it has landing and take-off capabilities in limited spaces and it is prepared to bear unfavourable environmental conditions.
Thus, it is intended to maximize the integration of the aircraft at street level so that it is accessible from the back. This is the first air taxi prototype developed in Spain, and the third in Europe, and it has been presented this Monday in San Sebastián by the Basque technological centre Tecnalia.
One of the possible exploitation means for this type of vehicles is to use it as a shared service. The company affirms that in order to develop and market the final product as a competitive product, it should cost from 30,000 to 50,000 euros and provide service with prices per route of about 30 or 40 euros.
These type of projects intend to consolidate within the market in 5 years, however, the companies are still working with several authorities involved in making the necessary legislative changes to make this possible and consolidate the safety of this type of autonomous vehicles.
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