Jul 21, 2023, 7:02am EDT

Flying taxis might take off sooner than you think


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The News

The race to actualize flying taxis is heating up.

Brazilian aerospace company Embraer said it plans to start constructing electric flying taxis, eyeing a launch in 2026. Meanwhile, Vertical Aerospace, a U.K.-based firm, started test flights of its full-size electric air taxis, and is also targeting a 2026 debut.

We’ve compiled insights you should read on the push to get flying taxis off the ground.

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  • While Embraer and Vertical are both eyeing 2026 launches, U.S.-based air taxis could be a bit further from takeoff. According to a recently unveiled plan, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is eyeing a 2028 date for the approval of flying taxis. The FAA has said it won’t shirk its safety obligations to meet the deadline. — The New York Times
  • Flying taxis are more formally known as eVTOLs, short for electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft. The vehicles launch straight up from the ground, and therefore don’t require a landing strip to get going. There are concerns that the price of actually riding in an eVTOL would be out of reach for most people, but companies developing the tech say that they’ll eventually rival regular taxis. — The Guardian
  • German-developed Volocopter has designed a flying taxi so quiet that some people missed the launch. Would-be spectators didn’t even look up from their phones when the aircraft took off at the recent Paris Air Show, prompting Dirk Hoke, Volocopter’s chief executive, to remark: “The air conditioning was louder than the aircraft.” — The Wall Street Journal
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Know More

Initial rollouts of eVTOLs are expected to have a pilot, but some companies are also setting their sights on self-operating vehicles.

Sources at Embraer, the Brazilian firm, have said that initial flights will cost around $50 to $100 per trip. The eVTOLs will be able to carry up to six passengers.

The aircraft are part of a larger push by aerospace companies to decarbonize, but still face regulatory hurdles before they become a common sight in urban skies.