Rolls Royce Plans Flying Taxi


British auto manufacturer Rolls-Royce will unveil its designs for an electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) vehicle at the Farnborough Airshow.

The air show, one of the biggest events in the aviation calendar, will be officially opened by British Prime Minister Theresa May.

The proposed EVTOL could be adapted for personal transport, public transport, logistics and military applications and is based upon technologies that already exist or are currently under development.

Early designs reveal wings able to rotate 90 degrees which will enable the vehicle to take off or land vertically.

The "flying taxi" could transport up to five people at speeds of up to 400 kilometres per hour for approximately 800 kilometres and would be able to utilise existing infrastructure such as heliports and airports.

“Building on our existing expertise in electric technologies and aviation, Rolls-Royce is actively exploring a range of possible markets and applications for electric and hybrid electric flight,” Rolls-Royce’s electrical team head Rob Watson said.

“We are well placed to play a leading role in the emerging world of personal air mobility and will also look to work in collaboration with a range of partners.”

Related: Uber Air Launches 'Skyports' the Helipads of the Future

The M250 is a highly successful Rolls-Royce engine. Over 31,000 have been delivered since the first version entered service over half a century ago, with an estimated 16,000 currently in service.
EVTOL EngineImage: Rolls Royce

The initial EVTOL concept uses Rolls-Royce's famed M250 gas turbine which has been modified as part of a hybrid electric propulsion system.

“Rolls-Royce has a strong track record as pioneers in aviation,” Watson said.

“From developing the first turbo-prop and jet engines, to creating the world’s most efficient large civil aero-engine and vertical take-off and landing solutions, we have a very strong pedigree.”

“As the third generation of aviation begins to dawn, it’s time to be pioneers yet again.”

Meanwhile, Uber has partnered with NASA to help with its flying taxi plans.

Airbus has also began conducting test flights on its own EVTOL, releasing video footage of the Vahana craft hovering in mid-air.

In Silicon Valley, a number of start-ups are investing heavily in the emerging sector with Kitty Hawk leading the way with its fully-electric EVTOL, backed by Google founder Larry Page.

Rolls-Royce's EVTOL could be airborne as soon as 2020.

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