Ever wondered what it would be like to take a ride in a flying taxi?
The much talked about dream of having flying taxis in India may soon be a reality after researchers at IIT Kanpur signed a deal worth Rs. 15 crore with a private tech-company VTOL Aviation India Pvt Ltd to develop flying cars in India.
What is the deal?
The deal, which was signed earlier this month, will see researchers at IIT Kanpur developing functional prototypes of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) craft, which can be potentially used as a flying taxi or for air travel.
But before starting to work on the project, the researchers will conduct a feasibility test to check whether this vision of developing flying taxis in India can actually be made in reality.
Ajoy Ghosh, head of the Aerospace Engineering and the Flight Lab unit at IIT-Kanpur, told The Print,
“We will establish a proof of concept and identify the key technology areas. There will be over 100 students working on this.”
What is this technology about?
The technology is called VTOL, which stands for vertical take-off and landing technology. As the name suggests, it refers to aircrafts that can take-off as well as land vertically.
It is seen as the future of the flying world. Since the take-off and landing would take place vertically, there will be no need for runways.
With the VTOL technology, an aircraft can take-off and land practically anywhere, which makes them more flexible than ever.
Another striking advantage of the use of this technology would be the energy saved with its use. It uses electric motors which are much more energy efficient than normal jet engines.
Is this the first-of-its-kind?
In the world? No.
In India? Yes.
Last year, cab giant Uber revealed its plans to launch flying taxis in the name of UberAIR by 2020 with the use of VTOL technology. The company signed an agreement with NASA to further explore the concept of urban air mobility (UAM) for new developments in air transportation.
Munich-based startup, Lilium also aims to develop a similar flying-taxi service. Its prototype has been successfully tested in Germany.
Airbus is also designing its version of the flying car. It successfully completed a test flight last year and seems to be the leader in this segment at the moment.
But for a country like India, which is hugely populated and where transportation on land is a mess, this could be a huge breakthrough and thus this deal is of paramount importance.
How far is this from actually happening?
In the simplest of terms, without mincing any words, the answer is – very.
At the moment, we are nowhere close to flying cars and taxis in India. Then why this buzz, you ask?
Well, that’s because it’s a step in the right direction. And it’s a huge step too. The deal between IIT Kanpur and VTOL Aviation India intends to develop a functioning prototype within five years.
Even if the technology is successfully developed, there are many administerial changes that need to take place before we can actually see this happening.
“Air traffic regulations need to be calibrated accordingly. This will include working with the aviation authorities in India, at the very least, to lift restrictions on the use of airspace”, explained Ajoy Ghosh.
Thus, a lot of cooperation on part of the authorities will be needed to make flying taxis in India a reality.
Nevertheless, there is plenty to be excited about as the development of this technology will be a path-breaking revolution in the flying world and will lead to new ways of transportation and connectivity.
Image Credits: Google Images
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