When it comes to flying taxis, a vast majority of companies in the sector are developing smaller aircraft. Thus, their transport capacity is also low. A British company recently announced that it wanted to design an aircraft in the form of a bus that could carry several dozen people at a time.
A public flying bus at fixed times
To believe the news, the future of urban mobility should go by cars and other flying taxis. In December 2020, the European Union gave the green light to the German company Volocopter. Other big names have positioned themselves in this niche, namely General Motors, Airbus, Boeing, Skydrive or even Rolls-Royce – among others. In a recent press release, the British company GNK Aerospace made a rather surprising announcement. Indeed, it does not want to develop a flying car, but rather a flying bus, the Skybus. This project was proposed as part of the Future Flight Challenge, a competition launched by UK Research and Innovation of the UK government.
You should know that most of the electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that most manufacturers imagine have a transport capacity of less than five people. These would then operate on demand, like taxis. In contrast, GNK Aerospace offers a public flying bus with fixed schedules capable of boarding between 30 and 50 people.
A quadrotor machine with wings
GNK Aerospace’s objective is to reduce travel times in the city (or between cities). At the same time, it is a question of decongesting road traffic on the ground. However, we will have to be very patient before seeing this kind of device in the skies of our cities. Indeed, the Skybus project is still at the design stage. In any case, the artist’s view that we have been given to see presents a quadrotor machine with wings, the latter serving to optimize energy consumption (by allowing you to hover). However, the use of four rotors seems complicated in the case of this massive machine, because of the lack of redundancy in the event of failure.
Moreover, the question of carrying batteries is problematic. Indeed, the bus will need a very large amount of energy to operate. However, it is almost certain that the batteries will have to be huge enough to allow this. In any case, there is nothing to say which technology GNK Aerospace will turn to, but the project arouses curiosity.