Vertical Aerospace unveils designs for pioneering ‘flying taxis’

©Vertical Aerospace's ‘flying taxi’ VA-1X

Vertical Aerospace, the Bristol-based company pioneering affordable electric aviation, has announced plans for a revolutionary ‘flying taxi’, the VA-1X.

Capable of carrying up to five people (four passengers and a pilot), the VA-1X is set to be the world’s first certified winged all-electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft, and is on course to start commercial flights in 2024. Build will begin shortly, with manufacturing taking place in the U.K.

VA-1X will boast cruise speeds of 150 mph with a useable range of up to 100 miles, meaning passengers could travel from London to Brighton in approximately half an hour, compared to two hours driving, or an hour by train. The aircraft will bypass road congestion, and will be certified to the same safety standards as commercial airlines. Its eVTOL technology ensures the VA-1X will be completely emission-free.

Vertical Aerospace’s ultimate aim is to make the VA-1X significantly cheaper than helicopter flights, removing one of the major barriers to environmentally friendly air travel. Prices for air taxi services are initially expected to be between a helicopter flight and a private car, and will decrease as adoption grows.

World-class companies are participating in the initiative. These include Honeywell, which is supplying flight controls and control laws, and has signed a letter of intent to provide a vehicle management system for the prototype.

As demand for sustainable travel surges, eVTOL technology has gained rapid momentum, with the autonomous aircraft market predicted to reach US$1.5 trillion by 2040 according to findings from Morgan Stanley Research. Since its creation in 2016 by OVO Founder, Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical Aerospace has quickly established itself as a leader in eVTOL technology. It is one of only seven companies in the world to have successfully flown multiple full-scale eVTOL prototypes, undertaking two trials with U.K. Civil Aviation Authority approval, and is the first company to introduce F1 technology to eVTOL aircraft.

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