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6 Top Air Taxi Companies to Watch

6 Top Air Taxi Companies to Watch. Airbus Vahana Air Taxi, Astro Aerospace, Volocopter 2 x Aircraft, SureFly Air Taxi by Workhorse

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6 Top Air Taxi Companies to Watch

Air taxis are very close to becoming a thing of commercialized local transportation. There are already companies, like Astro Aerospace (OTC: ASDN), for instance, that are working on perfecting the prototypes for aircraft vehicles that should pose as air taxis.

Some top engineers are developing eVTOLs and other aircraft vehicles, while air taxis are already counting billions of dollars in investments, although still in development.

What are some of the top air taxi companies to watch as we wait for local inner-city flights to become a reality? Check out some of the top aircraft companies as we witness the evolution of new air transportation trends.

1. Airbus Vahana Air Taxi

Air Taxi Companies

Airbus Vahana is a company working on eVTOLs, electric vertical takeoff, and landing vehicles, creating an electric VTOL that should be piloted entirely through the process of automation.

Self-piloted eVTOLs can be helpful and cost-effective in the sense of saving on costs for hiring and training eVTOL pilots. Drilling a pilot would include reserving a higher salary for air taxi pilots than a traditional taxi driver’s salary, making using an air taxi unaffordable and probably pricey for everyday transportation.

Software engineers already have experience creating autopilots for large planes, which is how this technology could be adjusted to eVTOL technology and applied to Airbus Vahana models.

2. Astro Aerospace

Astro Aerospace is probably one of the most exciting companies among innovators in air transportation and aircraft vehicles. The company is publicly traded and already has investors for its eVTOL cars.

Astro Aerospace’s vehicles could quickly become the next most popular and the most affordable air taxis that could cut the time and cost needed to get from point A to point B in urban and rural environments alike.

Astro Aerospace already has fully functioning models as they developed a prototype for their aircraft vehicle. One has a carbon fibre shell with 16 independent rotors that take only 30 seconds before takeoff.

Compared to a helicopter that traditionally takes 5 minutes before takeoff, Astro’s eVTOLs are faster and more cost-efficient, with the possibility to become a commercialized air taxi model very soon. One model can operate in two modes – it can be manually piloted or set to auto-flight mode.

Moreover, Astro’s eVTOL prototype is created to fit various use cases, including emergency response and medical response, air taxi and transportation of people, and cargo delivery. Astro Aerospace might be the best air taxi company on the list based on their model features and technology.

3. Volocopter 2 x Aircraft

Volocopter 2 x could quickly become one of the future air taxi models with its exciting look and compact design.
The aircraft was developed and built-in Germany and was sponsored by Intel, which probably adds to the accreditation of technology behind Volocopter.

Although it needs re-tweaking before becoming a commercialized air taxi, this is a fully functional model. Volocopter first took a test flight in June 2018 on CES with Intel sponsorship. Flight time for this model is 30 minutes, and it can travel 17 miles between charge stations.

The model fits two passengers with a sophisticated sensor system that controls the aircraft vehicle’s position that might soon become an urban air taxi. Volocopter took another flight in 2019, this time over Singapore and far from the CES stage. The flight lasted for 2 minutes, while the company is working on improving the model.

4. SureFly Air Taxi by Workhorse

SureFly is an eVTOL model developed and designed by the company Workhorse. The company sold its aviation division to Moog for 4 million dollars, as the company went through some significant losses, losing millions by 2019. SureFly development continues under the Moog company, as the company is working on creating a fully functional model that could pose as an air taxi soon.

The design is supposed to be robust and designed for a self-controlled, commercialized flying experience. In case Moog makes it with developments, the company could prepare an attractive air taxi model for commercialized use for inner-city flights.

5. Terrafugia Transition Hybrid Air Model

Terrafugia Transition is a hybrid model of an aircraft vehicle powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain. The model features a turbo mode that can be used for speeding up and reaching super-fast flight mode. The aircraft vehicle is designed to be used on land and in the air as it features retractable wings and wheels.

The company behind this hybrid model initially released a pricing form for the Transition model, listing a value of 280,000$ for this aircraft vehicle. However, the pricing is now kept private, probably until the company prepares a fully functional model used as a commercial air taxi. The model and its technology are now owned by the Chinese company Geely.

6. Joby Aviation Air Taxi

Joby Aviation spent years working on a personal aircraft that could be used as a commercialized air taxi, recently receiving a cash infusion of 100 million dollars from Intel and Toyota.

Joby announced acquiring Uber Elevate in December 2020, a taxi unit by the rideshare giant. Joby created an electric VTOL with a range of 150 miles and can reach the speed of 200 miles per hour with six electric motors powering the aircraft machine.

Joby’s electric VTOL vehicle offers seats for up to five people, including the pilot, making it a great model for an air taxi. The 100 million dollars in cash influx by Intel and Toyota will be spent on perfecting the model to create a commercial air taxi used on long and short inner-city distances.

7. How Far Are We from Commercial Air Taxis?

Even though the idea of air taxis might sound futuristic, companies in the sector of aircraft development have already created functional technology that could power the first air taxis. We might get a chance to take a flight in a commercial air taxi in less than a decade.

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Internet

Can the UK Host Europe’s First Spaceport?

In the race to launch the first rocket from Europe, can the UK come out on top? With the plans for two new UK spaceports based in Scotland underway, these may present Great Britain’s best chance of success.

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Can the UK Host Europes First Spaceport

The United Kingdom can boast an enviable record of excellence with its contributions to science, engineering, and technology, especially in the field of aeronautics. Therefore, it’s surprising that Great Britain hasn’t yet achieved a vertical rocket launch from the country’s soil, despite the abundance of scientific expertise in its space industry.

Now, the United Kingdom is targeting 10% of the worldwide space industry by 2030, and its success in the endeavor is likely to hinge on the progress of two new UK spaceports.

1. Spaceport Development in the UK

Despite the difficulties posed by the coronavirus pandemic and the continuing fallout from Brexit, the UK is still aiming to build new spaceports on British soil very shortly. The government and space industry hope to boost British enterprise, provide a platform for the nation’s scientific talent, and secure considerable economic benefits.

UK science minister Amanda Solloway stated that the new UK spaceports would “cement the UK’s status as a global space superpower.” The UK already makes sizeable contributions to the global space industry with its technology exports. The annual UK satellite export market is valued at over $300 million, while more than £360 billion of broader UK economic activity is supported by satellite services.

Indeed, small satellite (smallsat) technology promises the most significant short-term growth for the space industry’s future. Many of Britain’s most innovative smallsat companies are located in Scotland, which, combined with the local geography, makes the UK’s northernmost part an ideal base of operations for developing the country’s space industry.

It’s no surprise, then, that Scotland has been chosen as the location for two different spaceports with two very different profiles. While plans for other UK spaceports in Wales and Cornwall are also in progress, if Britain launches Europe’s first vertical rocket, it will likely originate from one Scottish spaceport. Now, it continues to be discussed which will strike first: Space Hub Sutherland or the Shetland Space Centre.

2. Space Hub Sutherland vs. Shetland Space Centre

With a proposed site amidst the beautiful Scottish Highlands on the A’ Mhòine peninsula, the construction of Space Hub Sutherland is scheduled to begin soon, with an eye on launching rockets before the end of 2022. The spaceport will launch rockets carrying payloads of up to 500 kg, the first of which will be a rocket made by Orbex. Although based in Scotland, Orbex’s founders hail from Denmark and Germany, with most of Orbex’s employees working in Denmark rather than in the UK.

spacex Host Europes First Spaceport

This is not the only setback that Orbex and Sutherland Space Hub have had to weather. This is not the only setback that Orbex and Sutherland Space Hub have had to survive. Previously, the American aerospace giant Lockheed Martin had come aboard as a partner at Sutherland Space Hub. However, it seems the US company thought better of the decision, as they have now turned their efforts to the Shetland Space Centre instead.

The original design for the spaceport included two vertical launchpads to enable up to 30 launches every year. However, due to ecological restrictions, the spaceport has been limited to a single launch pad and a maximum of 12 launches every year. It is also unclear why Orbex would have sought a bailout loan despite having secured millions in investment for the project.

Other objections to the Sutherland spaceport have come from Danish billionaire and the richest man in Scotland, Holch Povlsen. The emigrant entrepreneur has cited environmental concerns that conflict with the work done by his Wildland firm, which aims to rewild the Scottish Highlands. However, it’s also worth noting that Povlsen has a £1.4 million stake in the competing Shetland Space Centre, which he argues has more potential for success.

Shetland Space Centre is also looking to be up and running with its first rocket launch by the end of 2022, from a site in Lamba Ness on Unst, one of the Shetland Islands. The plans boast three launchpads capable of launching payloads of up to 1,000 kg for up to 30 launches every year. Lockheed Martin is partnering with space technology firm ABL Space Systems for a series of maiden launches from the spaceport.

Although the project promises to contribute £5 million to the local economy, planning approval has yet to be granted. The preferred site will require the demolition of a Second World War radar facility, which Historic Environment Scotland has argued is too high a price to pay. Suggested suitable alternatives could easily be found elsewhere.

3. When Will UK Spaceports Be Operational

The coronavirus pandemic has caused mass disruption to almost every industry on Earth, and the commercial space sector is no different. That said, the global space industry continued to grow in 2020, which is perhaps a testament to the sector’s future-proof potential. Suppose the UK is serious about leveraging its space industry to acquire a share of this market.

In that case, UK spaceports will have to be constructed before long, especially if Great Britain wants to realize its ambitions of becoming the first European nation to play host to a vertical rocket launch. Meanwhile, on the continent, countries such as Germany, Sweden, France, Norway, and Portugal, are all working towards making their space industries sufficiently competitive to increase their global market shares.

What are the uses of satellites

  • Television
  • Telephones
  • Navigation
  • Space science
  • Weather
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Safety
  • Land stewardship

4. Conclusion: Healthy Competition

The UK spaceports planned for Scotland both face their own set of challenges. Neither the Shetland Space Centre nor Sutherland Space Hub will find themselves wanting for customers if one or both of them can demonstrate the capacity for successful vertical rocket launches. However, the presence of two different spaceports in Scotland can only help to improve Britain’s overall ability for commercial space launches that are likely to make the country an attractive proposition for future investment.

The global satellite market proliferates as more and more industries rely on satellite technology to stay competitive. If these UK spaceports can establish themselves as Europe’s premier launch facilities, both the spaceport developers and the broader British economy are sure to reap the benefits.

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