(Oct 23): Flying taxis, once the purview of science-fiction films such as The Fifth Element, might soon be a staple of urban transport, as better batteries and innovative designs make it cheaper, cleaner, and quieter to travel short distances by air. Citigroup thinks sales of air taxis could reach US$5 billion ($6.8 billion) a year by the end of the next decade.
Two companies came to Singapore this week to share their vision during the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress. UK-based Skyports built a model flying taxi station, while Germany’s Volocopter gave a demonstration flight of its electric vehicle.
Engineers from the two companies walked reporters through how it might work. A traveller opens an app and chooses among a handful of stations in a given city—flying between the posh Marina Bay Sands hotel and the luxury resort island of Sentosa was one option this week. The traveller picks the departure time and gets a confirmation showing who the pilot will be.