Flying cars are about to become a part of life, flying a taxi is not a dream 2020-05-11

According to information released by Morgan Stanley, by 2040, the market value of self-driving flying cars will reach 1.5 trillion US dollars (equivalent to about 10.4 trillion yuan). The author's survey found that several large companies that are now involved in the development of flying cars and have made good progress have set the landing time of flying cars in 2030. According to Uber's survey data, by 2030, urban infrastructure will face tremendous pressure from urbanization, 60% of the population will migrate into urban life, and the existing public transportation layout will even use the ground and underground transportation resources. Maximization is still difficult to support. At this time, the unlocking of urban short-distance travel is imperative.

This huge outlet, whether it is a start-up company or Google, Uber, Geely and other companies we are familiar with, even the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has entered the board.


As early as the 2018 Farnborough International Aerospace Exhibition, Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop said that it is very optimistic about the future of flying cars, and Boeing's existing technology can support it to create safe flying cars. "Autonomous flying cars will be a market with great potential, and Boeing's Boeing NeXt department will be used to solve the problems that arise in the development of flying cars."

The Boeing NeXt department is headed by Steve Nordlund, Vice President of HorizonX, the venture capital business of Boeing. It will use the resources of the entire company to promote development in the future. If the progress is smooth, Boeing NeXt will also be independent from Boeing. Value.

In addition, considering the automation and electrification of flying cars, Boeing has also established a cooperation with artificial intelligence company SparkCognition. Both parties will use blockchain technology and artificial intelligence to develop an air traffic management system. This new air traffic management system can improve the safety factor and operational efficiency by tracing the flight routes and conditions of unmanned flying vehicles in the air, allocating traffic routes and passages for flying vehicles.

In terms of electrification, Boeing has invested in power and battery power technology-related industries to prepare for future electric flying vehicles.


As a well-known automobile group in China, Geely's actions have always been bold, after Geely fully acquired the flying car company Transition to enter the flying car industry. The first mass-produced flying car launched by Terrafugia, Transition, has passed safety inspections by the US Air Traffic Control Agency and the Department of Defense. It began accepting reservations in October 2018. The official guide price is 280,000 US dollars (about 1.9 million yuan).

Transition not only has the appearance of a car, it also has two huge wings, the wings on both sides can be automatically deformed, and it only takes 40s to fully extend, but it needs to glide about 518 meters to help take off. According to the data released by Terrafugia, Transition is powered by lithium iron phosphate battery supplied by the parent company Geely. It is limited to 2 people. The maximum flight altitude is 3048 meters, and the maximum flight speed is 160km / h. It needs to burn 19L of fuel per hour, and the fuel consumption per 100 kilometers is about 11.87L, which is only equivalent to a 2.0T car.

Taking into account the limitations of taxi assist on operation, Terrafugia iterated on the Transition and plans to build a hybrid TF-X that can take off vertically. Terrafugia hopes to launch this product by 2025.


In terms of flying car projects, Uber's operating model is the same as the car taxi business. It does not directly conduct research and development of flying cars, and mainly provides "flying" business support.

According to Uber's official website information, Uber will cooperate with Australia, Brazil, France, India, and Japan in the future to carry out flight and road tests (sky test), and cooperate with local regulatory agencies to establish a set of services that can make on-demand air services a reality. Regulatory framework, and plans to launch a flying car service in Los Angeles before 2020, and the global on-demand air taxi service UberAir as early as 2023.

UberAir's business development will rely on an aircraft called eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing). Its concept aircraft design has been demonstrated at the second Uber Elevate conference held by Uber. The internal codename of the aircraft is eCRM-003.

The take-off assistance of eCRM-003 comes from four pairs of co-rotating rotors, which will create vertical lift and save the running process. According to the published information, eCRM's current flight speed is 240-320km / h, and the one-way cruising range can reach 60 miles (about 96 kilometers). Currently, Uber is developing the aircraft together with Embraer and Boeing's Aurora Flight Sciences.

Hyundai Motor

In September 2019, Hyundai Motor established a new flying car department to develop technologies for the commercialization of flying cars. The leader of the department is Dr. Shen Zaiyuan, a former aerospace engineer of NASA.

Hyundai Motor stated that the main task of the department in the future is to develop core technologies and innovative solutions for safe and efficient air travel. As a former NASA aviation engineer, Shen Zaiyuan said that he is optimistic about the future urban air travel market, and said that in the next 20 years, urban air travel is expected to develop into a market worth 1.5 trillion US dollars.

On January 7, 2020, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Hyundai and Uber released a concept electric flying taxi S-A1 with a mileage of up to 60 miles (about 96 kilometers) ), Cruising speed can reach 290km / h, limited to 4 people.

German Volocopter drone development company

In September 2019, the German drone development company Volocopter conducted a flight test of a passenger drone in Dubai, UAE, and it received investment from the automotive giant Daimler.

This unmanned aircraft can fly autonomously without the guidance of the remote control, and can last up to 30 minutes. If it encounters a sudden failure, it can start emergency devices, such as backup batteries. In an emergency, several propellers on the drone's fuselage will automatically open to prevent the fuselage from falling.

Volocopter's CEO Floria said: "When no one's" flying "is put on the market, you can book the service through the APP on your phone, and then no one's" flying "will come to your Be around and take you to your destination after picking you up. "He also said that the company's researchers plan to achieve unmanned" flying "service after 5 years

China Ehang

In 2017, the Dubai Transport Authority of the United Arab Emirates announced that Dubai would be the first city in the world to allow passenger drone operations, and it is expected that air taxis will account for a quarter of all Dubai transportation in 2030. According to official information, Dubai previously planned to put into operation the "Yihang 184" independently manufactured by China. As the world's first passenger unmanned aircraft, "Yihang 184" has many restrictions.

"Yihang 184" mainly relies on eight propellers on four cantilevers for take-off and landing, and uses battery power. The first-generation Yihang 184 "can only carry one adult passenger and carry-on luggage. About 50 kilometers, which means that half an hour will drain the battery reserve.

Subsequent EHang updated 184. In the high-configuration manual flight version, a manual control device has been added to the cabin, and passengers can autonomously drive in addition to the automatic driving option. In automatic driving mode, passengers can easily complete the entire flight process by clicking the intelligent control button after setting the flight route, reducing errors caused by human control.

As for the most important qualifications, in 2019, Yihang Intelligent has signed a strategic agreement with the Guangzhou government on the future development of urban air traffic. At the same time, Yihang also obtained a flight permit issued by the US FAA.

Dubai's support for flying cars

Dubai, as a country full of local tyrants, is at the forefront of global support for flying cars. Whether it is a cooperation with China Yihang or other companies since then, its large distribution of apron and sufficient funds are enough to support flight rental The layout of the car business.

According to previous research, by 2024, Dubai flying car rentals will exceed 430,000, with a compound annual growth rate of 46%. By 2030, flying taxis will account for a quarter of all transportation in Dubai.

Promotion by the Japanese government

In August 2018, the Japanese government united two government agencies, several universities and 22 private companies and institutions to establish a future air mobility cooperation organization. Organization members include companies such as NEC, Japan Airlines, Subaru, Uber Japan and Boeing Japan.

Subsequently, the cooperation organization issued a blueprint describing the outline of the technical development of flying cars and the regulations required for air flight. According to the blueprint, the commercialization of flying cars in Japan will start in 2023.

US-NASA entry

In November 2018, NASA also participated in the competition for flying cars. They funded an industry competition for driverless flying cars. It is hoped that this way of display will attract more people to participate in it, and at the same time establish a public Flying car confidence. The driverless flying car competition requires participants to demonstrate a driverless flying car capable of carrying at least one adult passenger, safely passing through a challenging simulation city.

China-Accelerating the opening of low-altitude airspace

Domestic support for air flying vehicles is mainly shown in the opening of airspace. Previously, the relevant regulations issued by the Civil Aviation Administration accelerated the process of opening low-altitude airspace, researched and proposed various national airspace management subjects, responsibilities and rights relations and management procedures, focusing on promoting the realization of real Surveillance airspace below 3000 meters high and reporting airspace seamlessly connect, and according to the actual needs of general aviation and the airspace environment, adjust the height of the airspace appropriately, set up a low-altitude visual flight route, which is convenient for general aircraft to fly fast. Promote the Air Traffic Control Committee to coordinate the use of various types of users' airspace, reasonably determine the range of low-altitude airspace, scientifically configure low-altitude airspace resources, and at the same time, promote the promulgation of "low-altitude airspace use management regulations" and other management regulations.

Controversy over the landing of flying cars

In fact, just like new energy vehicles faced many controversies, there are also many controversies about flying cars. Elon Musk, the founder of the famous new energy car brand Tesla, said: In the future you will have to face a large number of helicopters buzzing around on your roof, its huge noise and flying time The powerful air flow will make you uncomfortable.

Indeed, according to our understanding of helicopters: excessive noise, expensive operations, pollution emissions, and safety issues are all important reasons for limiting its popularity (the restrictions on the author are different, mainly because there is no money). In response, Uber, keen to share investment in flying cars, responded: As battery technology advances by leaps and bounds, we will operate electric aircraft in a safer manner and increase its driving force. These electric aircraft can carry people and even transport heavy objects. Uber said that due to the battery drive, the noise of the aircraft will also be greatly reduced, only half of the noise of the truck passing in front of the door.

At the same time, the ecology of self-driving flying cars will also involve sensors, batteries, flying car parts and software systems, as well as difficulties in monitoring traffic and providing network security.

1. Battery technical issues

The first threshold for flying cars landing: battery. Although with the rapid development of new energy vehicles and the continuous innovation of battery technology, we still face the problem of insufficient battery storage. The specific energy of the battery (the amount of energy provided by the battery per unit mass, which ultimately affects the total weight of the aircraft) is insufficient to support long-distance commuting.

The charge rate of the battery (the rate at which the battery can basically recover to a fully charged state) is also too slow, resulting in longer idle time for the shared flying car, which makes it difficult to support high-frequency ride-sharing operations and increases operating costs.

Another is the cycle life of the battery (the number of charge / discharge cycles that can be maintained before the battery capacity is less than 80% of the original capacity, which can affect the frequency of battery replacement). The unit kWh cost of the battery (determining the total battery cost) is also The economic viability of the aircraft is crucial.

2. Supporting infrastructure

The supporting construction is divided into two aspects, one is the take-off and landing requirements, and the other is air traffic management and dispatch.

Regarding take-off and landing, thanks to the existing vertical take-off and landing, on the one hand, you can make full use of the existing apron for management, on the other hand, you can plan the existing high-rise buildings, and use the roof on the top of the building for management. This step also requires further policy opening by the state.

As for air traffic management and dispatch, it is reported that the South Korean government will first develop and establish a drone traffic control system, which will serve as a traffic signal light for air drones to manage air traffic. According to the "2030 Future Automotive Industry Development Strategy", South Korean flying taxis and flying ambulances will be put into use around 2030.

3. Business definition

According to the existing products, the flying car has two modes, the car mode and the air flight mode. Then the question arises, is the air flight car an aircraft or a car? This need has since been promoted by the government and related companies.

4. Safety requirements

High enough safety is an important condition for the promotion of flying cars, and it is also a more severe technical challenge. Previously, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) set safety standards for helicopters as follows: the number of fatalities in accidents per 100 million passenger miles is less than 1.2. Existing flying car manufacturing and operating companies have raised their safety goal to four times that of helicopters, which is "less than 0.3 deaths per 100 million passenger miles."

Existing data proves from multiple angles that most of the aerospace accidents are caused by: pilot misoperation, adverse weather effects, and delayed air control feedback. In the future, the gradual realization of flying cars will automatically avoid such accidents to a certain extent.

——Source:Pacific Automotive Network

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