Paris wants to beat traffic with flying taxis by 2024
Aeroports de Paris, Airbus and the RATP (region transport) has said they want to help curb Paris' traffic problem.
All three firms have said they want to stop the almost hour-long trip by train or bus from Charles de Gaulle airport to the North of Paris City. And they're going to do it in the best possible way: with flying autonomous robotic-powered drone taxis!
At this week's Paris Air Show, the three companies said that they will be using the 2024 Paris Olympics as a deadline to bring the futuristic service into fruition. They have said in future, they would like passengers to be able to leave their flight, and then take to the air once again in a self-flying taxi.
"In 2010, for the first time, more than half of humanity was living in urban zones and we think we shall surpass 60 percent by 2030," said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.
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"If we have the conviction that in the next five, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years low altitude is a space to be conquered we have to put in place the conditions today," said ADP Group's executive director general Edward Arkwright.
According to Airbus, the key to making flying taxis a reality is in Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) machines. VTOL taxis have previously been in the news, with everyone from Uber to the City of London seeking to invest in the new technology.
According to ADP, it will have chosen a site for Paris' first Vertiport - which will be able to host taxis from one of 10 aerodromes in the region around Paris. The idea is to have the venue ready within the next 18-months.
Airbus already has two VTOL prototypes ready to fly; the single-seater 'Vahana' and a four-seater vehicle called the 'CityAirbus'. According to the Airbus CEO, "the two projects will converge towards a vehicle that will respond to first cases of use."
Despite Deloitte estimating that the size of the airborne taxi market at some US$17 billion for the United States alone in 2040, it is not without its problems. There are serious safety concerns to be addressed even before proof of concept, that will help gain widespread public acceptance.
"There remains some way to go before a flying vehicle becomes integrated into urban transport," said France's transport minister, Elisabeth Borne.
However, the goal of the city having flying taxis by 2024 is "one of the important stages" towards "the emergence of a complete transport offering" which would be "integrated and which respects the environment", says Borne.