A number of companies have been planning for flying taxis. Now, Boeing has made an important move to bring it a practical reality. The company has finalized its first test flight of autonomous electric VTOL aircraft. It has the ability to take off, hover, and land. The taxi has yet to fly forward, let alone transition from vertical to forward flight modes. It puts it ahead of competitors and the aircraft already existed as little more than a concept one year ago. The vehicle will serve for ‘the urban air mobility’ and it will carry passengers across town. The aircraft will be more useful in situations where ground transportation seems slow or unreachable.
The top speed of the new autonomous taxi is estimated at 50 miles per hour. The electric power-plant isn’t just for the sake of environmental responsibility, but it would ensure the aircraft is quiet enough to operate without irritating people on the ground. There are also various plans for a cargo-oriented counterpart. It could carry up to 500lbs of goods, and indoor to outdoor testing will take place in 2019.
The greater challenge will be to find customers for these special vehicles. Local governments have agreed for its tests, but there are still regulatory and practical issues to be resolved. It is still to be decided where the landing pads will be placed and where these aircraft be allowed to fly? The companies should develop flying taxis to answer at least some of these questions. But, Boeing is at least moving forward on this project.