The urban transport landscape is changing. The prototypes of the future flying taxis are already underway and by next 2019 they will make their first flight demonstrations in the main cities of Europe.
The development of new air mobility solutions is proposing great advances in the taxi transport system.
Private companies and public entities are already collaborating to make this project possible that will undoubtedly change the concept of transportation in the city.
The initiative is part of the Airbus and Audi that are part of the UAM and has the support of other partners such as the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA – Eurocontrol and the Urban Air Mobility UAM together with the European Commission, work on the development of the new prototypes of aerial vehicles for the transport of passengers in cities.
This pilot project of city taxis will be used initially for social services, such as the emergency transport of sick or injured people, to transport organs, etc.
It will be a pioneering project in digitized and autonomous mobility in Europe. That will start a new way of moving in the city of the future.
The city of Bavaria, Germany’s Inglostadt, could be the first to exhibit these new flying taxis.
Other European cities such as Geneva and Hamburg, as well as the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, have recently joined this initiative. Where will soon begin flight demonstrations financed by private and public cooperation of different companies and entities.
Pop-up, the new air transport module
By the end of this year or the first of 2019, different demonstrations of urban flight are planned in different cities of Europe. The new models of prototypes will surely be the Pop-up, modules that incorporate electric propellers for greater environmental sustainability.
Already at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show Airbus unveiled its prototype, created together with Italdesign and Audi.
The first modular transport vehicle that allows air mobility in the city. Completely electric and autonomous, of zero emission.
Multimodality system Earth-Flight
The new Pop-up Next introduces this innovative multimodality transport concept. A system that allows you to circulate both in an air and land space. A terrestrial electric car that can also fly, depending on our preference or external factors such as traffic.
Since the first prototype of 2017, Airbus engineers have still improved the aerodynamic design of the module allowing an optimum vertical flight. They have also optimized technical aspects, such as an independent electric propulsion system, to increase performance and reduce energy consumption.
Pop-up Next now consists of a modular two-seater capsule, totally autonomous driving, without driver. Due to its technical efficiency and balanced weight, Pop-up Next allows a safe and constant flight path without interruptions.
This prototype can reach speeds of up to 120 km / h. It has a time of recharging the batteries of 15 minutes and a range of 50 km.
Through an application passengers book the trip and enter a series of destination data. An AI artificial intelligence system offers different route alternatives depending on the user’s preferences via land or air, costs, traffic, schedules, etc. Proposing the best travel option. It also has a virtual interface for the interaction between passengers.
Once the desired terrestrial or aerial system is selected, the trip will begin. If the flight mode has been selected, the capsule will be disconnected from the terrestrial module and will rise from the ground driven by 8 rotors.
Once arrived at their destination, both the aerial and terrestrial modules will return autonomously to the recharging stations destined for their next clients.
Flying taxis for cities in 2023
This is the goal of Airbus. But it has others, such as the CityAirbus project, another vertical electric vehicle of greater capacity (up to 4 people) for urban passenger transport.
The definitive prototype is expected for the year 2019. Already in 2017 successfully passed the first testing phase. This model can be integrated into other means of public transport, such as trains, future hyperloops.
“Electric vehicles, autonomous and connected will make urban traffic more comfortable and cleaner,” said Bram Schot, president of the Audi.
“They will also save space, which means an increase in the quality of life for people who live in cities. Here, it is where the mobility of the third dimension can offer a valuable contribution for the future. “
Legislation for autonomous vehicles
In the United States, they are already adapting their legislation to receive autonomous driving vehicles on their roads very soon. Japan for its part, plans for the year 2020 the incorporation of autonomous buses at affordable cost for areas of low population.
The European Commission plans for the end of the year or the beginning of 2019 the publication of regulatory recommendations for member countries.
This document “Europe on the Move” provides a special procedure for these technologies. It is not binding, suggests a line of legal, technical and regulatory action with which it is recommended to act in relation to the transport of autonomous smart vehicles on European roads.
The security and reliability of data communication between management administrations will be important issues to be addressed within specific regulations.
On the one hand to protect the privacy of personal data of users. But also, to be able to manage and analyze the data of security, energy consumption, traffic management, for example. All of them necessary data to value the environmental and economic impact.
The measures taken around prevention of computer viruses and cybernauts will also be a priority.
Faced with this new proposal to introduce autonomous vehicles in the urban context, the EU wants to consider public opinion and to probe its expectations around this new urban mobility system.
An online public consultation EuSurvey, which aims to collect opinions and information on the perception that citizens have about the urban introduction of automated vehicles.
The survey focuses on 3 aspects mainly: cybersecurity, the technological use of 5G wireless connectivity and security and trust in the subject of protection of sensitive personal data.
By the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019, the results and conclusions are expected to be published.
For 2020 the automated vehicles and 5G
The European Commission is preparing specific measures for the arrival of automated vehicles in 2020 and with them 5G wireless connectivity.
Around 450 millions of euros is the economic endowment to carry out these pilot projects of urban automation and installation of the 5G.
It is expected that in 2020 some cars and trucks with automation level 3 and 4 will be able to circulate on European roads, specific trucks such as garbage collection and various services.
Urban shuttle stations will also be ready for public transport service, small vehicles for running, etc. But they will surely require human supervision in some cases.
Fully automated vehicles 100% without human supervision, will be available not before 2030 according to the European Commission. It is also foreseen for 2030 that at least 25% of journeys in European cities will be through automated vehicles.
Japan prepares for the year 2020
The government of Japan has already started a research and development plan to introduce automated driving systems for public transport.
Last October began the demonstration tests with urban buses of automation level 4 in the city of Hitachi.
This automated system in public transport aims to reduce costs in areas with less population density.
Olli, more than a transport
The concern of Olli in offering an intelligent solution to people with visual, auditory, muscular and cognitive disabilities.
Using new technologies in automatic driving vehicles in smart urban environments, Olli with the collaboration of IBM (using its Watson artificial intelligence capabilities), Local Motors (manufacturer) and the CTA Foundation, Olli attracted crowds at CES 2018, which included the artist Stevie Wonder.
Together with Olli, the CTA Foundation will continue to “collect ideas” for the development of self-driving vehicles designed for the use of the elderly and disabled.
Projects like Olli are not limited to smart cities. The CTA Foundation also works with the Grantmakers in Aging association to develop a conference program that provides solutions for rural transport, including vehicle sharing, self-driving vehicles and other infrastructure difficulties.