During a Tuesday, February 9, 2021 interview on Linkedin Volkswagen CEO Herbert Deiss exclaimed that he wants VW to explore the possibility of flying taxis in China.
“I am also talking to our China CEO Stephan Wöllenstein about another exciting form of mobility: flight taxis!” – VW CEO Herbert Deiss
The interview indicated that VW wants to pursue forward thinking initiatives in the Chinese market. These initiatives, beyond flying taxis, are electric and self driving vehicles. In 2020 VW delivered 212,000 electric vehicles, an increase of 158% over 2019.
“We must make even better use of the high speed, ambition and, above all, the great innovative power from China for Volkswagen,” Deiss said. “For the first time, we will take over the majority of joint ventures, develop electric vehicles on site and drive automated driving.”
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VW is not alone in flying taxi development.
On Wednesday, February 10, 2021 United Airlines announced that they finalized an agreement to collaborate with Archer on short-haul electric aircraft for use as air taxis. Archer is an air mobility company that develops electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The partnership is an attempt to develop reduced-carbon vehicles and help commuting in crowded areas.
Archer’s aircrafts have a travel distance of up to 60-miles at a top speed of 150mph.
“These electric aircraft take off vertically like a helicopter, fly forward like an airplane, and will be 100% electric. There is no runway required and the vehicles can land vertically on a traditional helicopter landing pad or retrofitted landing site” – Archer co-founders Brett Adcock & Adam Goldstein
After a childhood of watching the Jetsons I’ve been jonesing to get a flying car. I’m not the only one who wanted one because the idea of a flying car goes back to the 1940’s but most never really got off the ground, except one.
The Taylor Aerocar is the only vehicle that is both FAA certified for air travel and is roadworthy. Developed by Moulton Taylor, the Aerocar never saw mass production but six were produced, with the first being completed in 1949. The wings of the Aerocar folded back and the four-cylinder engine powered the propeller during flight and the rear wheels on the road.
It had a cruising speed of 100 mph and a range of 300-miles. As an aircraft it was 21-feet long and could seat two people, including the pilot. Road speed was up to 60 mph.
A lack of interest grounded the Aerocar and it is largely a footnote in history. But we must not forget it because forward thinkers like Moulton Taylor set a foundation that the flying car, or now a flying taxi, is a distinct possibility in the future.