The vertical take off and landing flying taxi
Flying taxis are no longer just science fiction, with Bell announcing a partnership with Uber for flying cars - including a full prototype of a flying taxi.
We've all been there, catching a taxi only to sit in gridlock as the metre ticks its way up.
It makes for one expensive ride and makes you wish there was a way the taxi could just take off and fly over the sea of traffic.
Bruce Willis had a flying taxi in the Fifth Element, but soon this technology might not be restricted to the realm of science fiction.
The Consumer Technology Association held its annual CES conference in Las Vegas earlier his year and attendees were shocked by an actual prototype of a flying taxi launched by Bell.
The vertical-take-off-and-landing hybrid-electric air taxi is called the Bell Nexus and they hope to take to the skies with passengers by 2023.
There are many companies vying to be the first to launch a flying taxi, but Bell’s prototype puts them firmly in front of the pack – and they have form on the board.
Bell’s VTOL technology is industry leading and they have partnered with Thales for the Flight Control Centre and Safran for the hybrid propulsion and drive systems.
But perhaps the most important partnership forged has been with ride-sharing giants Uber which wants to get vehicles airborne in the near future so passengers will be able to hail an Uber Air taxi.
How will it work? Very much the same as current Uber services.
You would order a ride in an Uber Air vehicle through an app, the same way you use the ride-sharing service.
Then you would need to travel to the nearest skyport, which could be a standalone building or an installation on top of an existing structure.
These skyports are expected to be capable of 200 vertical take off and landings per hour and the flying taxis are fully electric.
In the early days these flying taxis are expected to be operated by pilots, but it is hoped in the future they will be completely autonomous.
The Uber Air system is expected to be launched in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles regions of the United States in four years, with international launches to follow.