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Taxes of the future: flying autonomously? | Technology



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In the middle of the sign, who did not want to push the button, he got up and flown over the other cars?

This dream can be realized by 2025, when the first flight cabin flying through the sky, experts agreed on the panel at the festival South would be Southwest (SKSSV) in Austin, Tekas.

"People dream about it for decades and now technology is available"said Michael Thacker, Executive Vice President for Technology and Innovation of Helicopter Bell Manufacturers. "The only question is: what will we do with it?"

Thacker said his company has joined forces with Uber and several aeronautical companies, including French Safran, to create a fleet of flying taxis called vertical take-off and landing vehicles (VTOL).

The Nekus, the so-called hybrid electric drive, was first introduced in January at the consumer electronics fair in Las Vegas.

Between 20 and 30 other companies are working on similar concepts, from small beginners to large companies such as Airbus, who recently introduced their CitiAirbus electric plane.

Uber is planning to launch its first air taxis in Los Angeles and Dallas, two major American cities crowded with traffic.

Why not a helicopter? Thacker explained that these flying taxis are safer and quieter and said he expects commercial use to begin in 2025.

"It will not replace land transport, but it will increase it in another dimension," he said. "And it's not like it will jump overnight with thousands of planes, there will be several dozen in some cities … initially using heliports and helicopter routes."

Bell Taxi Bell David McNev | Agence France Presse
Bell Taxi Bell David McNev | Agence France Presse

The third dimension

White's directors say that trunks used to transport goods, such as emergency medical supplies, should fly long before taxis, as they face fewer restrictions.

However, Jaivon Shin, deputy administrator of NASA's mission for aerial surveys, said that although it seems reasonable to date for a limited launch of flying vehicles, it takes more time for the market to expand completely.

"In order to make this market really bleak … I think we really need to embrace the market in the right direction and it can take ten years," he said.

In addition to barriers that need to be overcome before these flying vehicles have a green light.

You need to see "if you really can test a vehicle in an urban area," said Shivika Sahdev of McKinsey's consulting firm.

One of the biggest technological obstacles to overcome is the battery. Most prototypes use an electric drive, and batteries currently do not have enough power to fly over long distances.

In any case, the industry is optimistic

In a report titled "Vision 2050", presented to SKSSV, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) predicted that by 2050, the use of flying taxis and other autonomous unmanned aircraft would be widespread, mainly thanks to artificial intelligence.

Josep Lago | Agence France Presse
Josep Lago | Agence France Presse

"For me, artificial intelligence is lighter in the air," says Scott Drennan, director of innovation at Bell. "There's plenty of space, we have the third dimension for maneuver."

"And there is not the Far West," he said. "The rules of the sky are more defined than the rules here on land."

Another advantage of flying cars is GPS, said Anil Nanduri, vice president of the Drone Group at Intel.

"GPS precision is now a few meters away," he said. "Land vehicles are not precise enough, but when you climb to the third dimension, that's enough."

For those who are still skeptical about the future, Aarti Shahani's technology journalist only has to say: "If you told me 10 years ago that I would have a request to look for a car that leads a stranger to my mother living at a distance of 4,800 km away , I'd say you're crazy.

"And that's what I do for her constantly."

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