U.S. air regulators have proposed new rules that could open the door for the commercial use of air taxis by around the middle of the decade.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed adding “powered-lift” operations, which could include potential air taxis, to its list of regulated aircraft such as airlines and charter planes.
Air taxis, also known as electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, are being touted as the transport of the future with several companies worldwide investing in the transport. The taxis proposed by California’s Joby Aviation mix characteristics of helicopters and planes for micro-flights in urban areas, promising to ease traffic in congested cities
The new proposal is an “important step toward making commercial air taxi operations a reality,” a FAA spokesperson told Semafor. “We anticipate publishing this proposed rule in summer 2023, and will finalize it by the time we certify the first powered-lift aircraft,” the FAA said.
The regulator is also drafting operating requirements and certification rules for pilots of powered-lift aircraft.
The View From Dubai
In October, an air taxi by Chinese company XPeng Inc. successfully completed a 90-minute test run in Dubai, one of just a few instances of such a trial getting off the ground.
Speaking to the U.K.’s Evening Standard, the company said the test is “an important base for the future generation of flying automobiles.”
The View From Georgia, U.S.
Mass construction of the hybrid aircraft is already underway in one part of the U.S.
Earlier this month, Archer Aviation selected a site in Georgia for its manufacturing facility, which it says will produce around 650 eVTOLs per year. The company plans to invest $118 million over 10 years at the site, which is located near Georgia’s Covington Municipal Airport.