Like in a science fiction movie, you could soon reach your destination with taxi drones. There have already been some tests and studies on the unmanned flying taxis.
Autonomous taxi drones: The concept
There are currently over 100 companies working on transporting people by drone. As of this year, even a German company is offering its flight services in Singapore. The company Volocopter will also take the taxi drones into the air in Paris, Los Angeles, Dallas, China as well as South Korea from 2025.
- Drones Definition: These are so-called multicopters with four, eight, 16 or 18 rotors that rotate on multiple arms. Batteries are used to power the motors. The great advantage of drones is that they take off and land vertically. This is why they are also called VTOL (Vertical Take-off and Landing).
- Taxi drones: The passenger takes a seat in the passenger cell of the taxi drone and selects the corresponding destination on a screen. In order to navigate, the drones use a series of sensors. These measure acceleration, position and air pressure. Obstacles are detected by a radar system.
- Traffic: In order for air traffic to proceed properly, there will be certain routes for the drones for short and medium distances. These will, for example, connect nearby towns or airports with city centres. However, it is still unclear how exactly air traffic will be regulated.
- Positives: There are a lot of pros to taxi drones. Since they run on electricity and emit no CO2, they are easy on the environment. In addition, car traffic is relieved. Less traffic leads to less congestion, which in turn leads to less CO₂ emissions. In addition, you will get to your destination much faster with a flight taxi, as traffic jams, roadblocks and construction sites are simply flown over.
- Difficulties: So far, the batteries needed for propulsion are heavy and have a short range. Currently, taxi drones can cover distances of 16 to 60 kilometres. In addition, there is no infrastructure for the special air traffic so far. Take-off and landing sites as well as charging stations are needed. It also remains to be determined how safe the drones are without pilots. This still requires some testing.