Flying taxies will soon be used in London, Los Angeles and Melbourne, among other cities.

Cross-Town Traffic Will Be No Problem with Flying Taxis

The future is coming for commuters, though it might have wait times and cost more than the average trip via subway.

Prepare for flying taxis to become a real thing. It’s being reported that Uber is leading the way in accessing leases on rooftops in London, with 15 locations approved already through Skyports, a landing infrastructure company. Plans to take ride-hailing Uber into the skies with a new fleet of personal aircraft are also pressing ahead.

Experts say it is highly likely passengers will be whisked away by a flying taxi within 3 or 4 years. No prices are set yet, but it isn’t expected to be cheap to use them to reach a destination.

The UK’s Vertical Aerospace completed a test flight for its unmanned prototype a little over a year ago in 2018, after being granted flight permission by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority.

According to an article by Natasha Bernal and Hannah Boland in, Uber plans to fly passengers in Dallas, Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia by 2023.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical Aerospace’s founder and CEO, told the demand for personal, on demand and carbon-free air travel between different cities has soared in recent years.

“We want to decarbonize air travel and give people the freedom to fly from their local neighborhood directly to their destination,” Fitzpatrick said.

These new planes are variously described as flying taxis, passenger drones or, as the industry terms them, urban air mobility (UAM) vehicles. There are around 200 UAMs in various stages of development around the world, according to experts interviewed by the when they attended the U.K’s Farnborough’s Air Show first global urban air summit in early September. Companies are building two-seaters, four-seaters, and larger craft.

Investors are interested in more than the option of flying around cities, though people are booking a lot of short-haul jet flights, according to statistics. With electric drones, companies feel they can contribute to keeping the environment cleaner, lessen traffic congestion and lower CO2 emissions by using electric UAMs instead of the usual jet-fueled planes.

Uber is one among several companies, including Airbus, BMW, Rolls-Royce and Google-backed Kitty Hawk, that are getting busy with their designs and developing the tech to make this a commercially viable option.

Duncan Walker, co-founder of Skyports said in 2018:

“We’re in a number of cities around the world where we’re taking rooftop leases and also building the world’s first vertiport, which is a heliport for passenger carrying drones which opens in Singapore in three or four weeks’ time.”

The real question remains how to regulate such a huge jump in travel and transport. Aviation authorities in the U.K and the U.S. are still behind in establishing how to maintain levels of safety, vertical and horizontal air lanes and many other issues including building “vertiports,” charging stations and more.

The Bernal and Boland article went on to point out that the U.K.’s Department for Transport’s Advisory Council said ministers should examine the level of public acceptance around flying taxis, and potentially canvass opinion on the subject.

Additionally, UPS gained approval to start testing product and blood deliveries by drones in America.