Part Two of The Flying Car List Is Here
【Summary】Here comes the second part of flying cars. Some of these designs are still in blueprint, or the prototypes have not been shown yet.
As to not make the article too long, we cut the long list of flying car projects into three episodes. Here is the second part, some of these designs are still in blueprint, or the prototypes have not been shown yet.
In 2016, Airbus unveiled its plan for flying taxi project under its Silicon Valley subsidiary A³("A cubed"). The design featured a streamlined look with capacity for one person under a canopy, and the taxi will take off and land vertically. Moreover, the flying machine is self-piloted and expected to be summoned like an Uber via smartphone.
Last month, A³ posted a video, finally revealing what Vahana looks like. The vessel is equipped with LIDAR sensors, radar, and cameras to navigate around environments.
According to Digital Trends, Airbus believes that testing the prototype by the end of the year is feasible, as subsystem tests are currently underway.
With an investment of $353,000 by Toyota, the Japanese startup Cartivator is building a flying car project called "Skydrive" for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Ideally, it's designed to be a three-wheel quadcopter that holds one passenger and "doesn't need roads or runways to take off."
However, in June, a video surfaced showing the engineers testing a flying gadget far from being even a prototype:
"The gadgetry, about the size of a car and loaded with batteries and sensors, blew up a lot of sand and made a lot of noise. It managed to get up as high as eye level for several seconds before tilting and falling to the ground." the Associated Press reported.
It looks like there's still a long way to go.
For Uber's flying car project, we haven't seen a real prototype yet, only a blueprint of small, electric aircrafts that will adopt the "VTOL" method (take off and land vertically) and fly between cities to ease daily traffic congestion on road.
However for partnerships, Uber has actively cooperated with governments in Fort Worth, Dallas and Dubai, who will be the first cities to receive the ride-hailing company's flying taxis. Meanwhile, the company is teaming with Hillwood Properties in Texas and Dubai Holding in the UAE to locate suitable sites for takeoff and landing pads, which are referred to as "vertiports" by Uber.
Besides, Uber is calling on Chargepoint to work on technologies that support the powering of its future aircrafts. Looks like Uber has done much in terms of infrastructure, but the progress of the flying machine is yet to be unveiled.
Precisely to say, this machine should be called a "Water Taxi". Developed by Paris-based startup Seabubbles, the boat is designed to be an autonomous, car-shaped river shuttle that has hydrofoils to hover above the surface of the waves. Ideally to be distributed to cities situated on major waterways for use in a on-demand ferry service, Sea Bubble's latest prototype adds a windshield to prevent passengers from being soaked by water spray.
The company is under French insurance company MAIF's $10.8 million financial support, and plans to have over a dozen vessels in the River Seine in Paris by this Summer. It also aims to expand to cities in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the US by 2018, and provide water taxi service operations in 50 cities by 2024.
Check out their demo video below:
German company Volocopter demonstrated its single-seat, 16 motor, all-electric e-volo VC1 "Volocopter" in 2011, far earlier than the other tech companies who just started exploring flying cars. The company later developed the Volocopter 2X, which is the startup's second-generation vehicle with 18 engines and a maximum speed of 62mph. The aircraft has been approved as an ultralight vehicle in Germany and can recharge in 40 minutes using a DC fast charger. However, it can only fly in cruising mode for 17 minutes.
The flying car veteran has just signed a deal with Dubai's Road and Transport Authority to begin testing the flying taxi in the fourth quarter. The testing will last five years.
Claire Peng has over 6 years of professional experience in the media industry, covering TV, newspaper and online media. She was once a reporter and producer for Fairchild Television based in Toronto Canada, and worked as an English news reporter for the Global Times in Beijing. She writes mainly about self-driving, companies investment, and the enterprise lab.
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