New York Mayor Eric Adams has gone on record stating that he believes air taxis will be a viable form of transportation by the year 2025, according to TechSpot.
The statement was in reference to the six-propeller electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that is currently being developed and tested by Joby Aviation.
Joby Aviation Air Taxi
But we may be getting ahead of ourselves, as the Santa Cruz, California-based startup is still working on securing FAA certification, and there are also infrastructure issues to consider.
Though demonstrations of air taxis in action have proved the concept, eVTOL aircraft won’t become ubiquitous overnight.
Mayor Adams has reason to believe that in just two years, commercial air taxis will be whisking commuters from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport to JFK airport in seven minutes, only having to make a very short stop to recharge between trips.
But at the present time, the Manhattan heliport doesn’t have the supporting infrastructure to allow for electric flight via air taxis.
It’s not outside the realm of possibility that air taxis will one day dominate the skyline and become a new standard for public transportation.
What’s more, Mayor Adams is suggesting that within our lifetime, we’ll be able to purchase our own personal electric helicopters.
Helicopters For Everyday Use?
It’s worth noting, however, that before this dream could become a reality, more testing has to be done on the commercial level before civilians can just go out and purchase a helicopter for their daily city commute.
Presently, there are two companies that are competing to provide air taxis that are either piloted or autonomous.
Though Joby Aviation is currently in the testing phases with their air taxis, rival company Volocopter has already logged over 2,000 test flights with their fully autonomous 18-propeller eVTOL, which also puts them in the running.
Viable Future Transportation
It goes without question that air taxis could, in fact, be a viable form of transportation in the very near future, but the public, as well as city officials, have to be behind the initiative.
With new technology comes a lot of bureaucratic red tape, and level 5 (fully autonomous) vehicles are still a relatively new concept.
It’s difficult enough to get the public behind level 5 ground vehicles, let alone aircraft, so it’s reasonable to assume that early iterations of air taxis will have to be piloted until it’s proven without a doubt that self-driving electric helicopters are safe.
What’s more, everyday civilians couldn’t just purchase an eVOTL and drive it around as they please without proper training or procuring a license, which is a whole other process that will need to be established and executed.
In other words, it’s not totally ridiculous to envision a future full of commercial air taxis, but electric helicopters replacing cars still seems a little far-fetched at the time of this writing.
Ambitious Vision For New York City
Mayor Adams’ vision is an ambitious one, and we can’t blame him for dreaming. Just imagine how easy it would be to navigate through New York City if the concept of air taxis is fully realized within our lifetime.
The next couple of years will reveal to us whether or not air taxis will be common in metropolitan areas, and if the technology is used successfully, then the sky’s truly the limit.