Automobile manufacturers are investing in vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, and Suzuki of Japan is the latest to enter the fray with a recently announced partnership with SkyDrive Inc.
The car manufacturer announced that they have agreed to collaborate on the research, development, and marketing of electric VTOLs (eVTOLs) in the near future.
Suzuki and Skydrive to Partner to Build Flying Cars
The companies announced their plans to commence operations in India, a country where Suzuki holds a significant stake in the automotive industry. Suzuki announced its commitment to invest over $1 billion in its Indian facility, with the aim of manufacturing electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries.
The company is currently developing a compact eVTOL designed to accommodate two passengers. Its objective is to scale up production to meet the demand and launch its flying vehicle service in Osaka during the World Expo in 2025.
While production will likely begin next year, SkyDrive does not anticipate receiving airworthiness certification until 2025. If all goes as planned, type certification will be given in 2026, and mass manufacturing will commence. The business also said they hope to obtain Federal Aviation Administration certification, letting the model operate in the United States.
A Long Awaited Technology
SkyDrive has been testing flying car concepts and prototypes since 2014. They first collaborated with Suzuki last year, intending to create a future where everyone in Japan and worldwide has access to eVTOLs as their daily transportation.
Flying vehicles are one of the fastest-growing types of transportation, with firms like Toyota and Japan Airlines joining the market through development-capable start-ups.
How Flying Cars Will Change the Transportation Industry
Compared to road transportation, Urban Aerial Mobility (UAM) or flying automobiles will allow people to move straight from point A to point B. As a result, communities may provide everyday commuters with a more efficient means of transportation that reduces road traffic.
Uber Elevate wants to offer an air taxi in the foreseeable future, with prices equal to Uber Black’s luxury automobile service. Instead of spending hours in traffic in a luxury automobile, Uber passengers will be able to reach their destinations in 15-20 minutes instead of spending hours in traffic in a luxury automobile for the same price.
While this model may still exclude most people, it is expected to minimize traffic and provide speedier transit choices for business travelers. Individual UAMs will cost more than $1.2 million in the early stages, $600,000 in the short term, and $200,000 in the long term.
Flying cars, which will be built to be “safer than helicopters,” can also be used as flying ambulances or to transport first responders. As a result of the shorter travel time, first responders may be able to save more lives.
Additionally, flying cars require only small launch pads to take off and land rather than large runways. These launch pads, comparable to helipads and the bigger “skyports”, are less expensive to construct than roads, trains, or airports.
Considering the expense of building airports, a three-kilometer airport runway costs around $30 million, plus $500 for each square meter of the passenger terminal. However, the cost of constructing helipads begins at $15,000, less than 0.05% of the cost of building an airport.
Governments’ infrastructure construction costs will be significantly reduced, as a result, allowing them to create a transportation node structure that has the potential to benefit the public.
The key to success will be scalability. If you can get to the point where it’s faster to walk to a vertiport and fly than drive, the decision will be simple. However, this will necessitate several flight alternatives to various locations within the city.
This nodal structure may provide a nonlinear transit network and places of interest from which to traverse the city, which is rather revolutionary because the infrastructure produced no longer has to be directional but rather nodal. After all, it allows you to connect to high throughput nodes and construct something supplementary to the present system.
When cities develop and people move, the routes can adapt in ways that trains, rail, and highway infrastructure cannot.
The External Impact of Flying Cars
According to a study, flying electric vehicles with a pilot and three passengers will have 52% lower greenhouse gas emissions than traditional automobiles and 6% lower greenhouse gas emissions than electric cars over 100 kilometers (62 miles).
According to the study, flying cars would not necessarily be more sustainable than electric vehicles on a short journey, but they would be an excellent sustainable solution for longer excursions.
These sorts of vehicles would be extremely handy in crowded cities. They’d also be useful in isolated geographical locations or with other mobility restrictions, like crossing water on a commute from London to Paris. They’d also be a lot faster than driving on the ground.
Flying vehicles pose a political risk because they will enable rich elites further to exclude themselves from common institutions and ordinary experiences, intensifying social isolation.
The technology also poses a considerable environmental risk since it will allow for the development of previously undeveloped territories. These lands provide critical environmental services such as air and water quality and carbon sequestration.
Are Flying Cars Worth the Wait?
Although UAMs will make moving from point A to point B easier, businesses and governments must plan appropriate skyways to avoid collisions in lower airspace. Insurance, service stations, merchants, and parts sellers will also be required.
As a result, flying automobiles have the potential to provide significant environmental and transportation advantages.