Picture yourself travelling from Mumbai to Lonavala— a drive that would normally occupy the better part of two hours, in only 15-20 minutes. This could turn into reality if ride-hailing firm Uber plans for aerial taxis service get implemented on the ground in India.
UBER India, CBO, Madhu Kannan met with Jayant Sinha, Union minister of state for aviation in this regard on Tuesday. After the meet, Sinha told TOI that Uber is considering five countries for the launch of air taxis. India is one of the five countries they are evaluating for launching air taxis. They are very close to selecting India.
It will primarily solve traffic issues in metro cities- where the population in exceeds 20 lakh and the density is over 2,000 people per square mile.
Passenger drones can enable people to travel distances of 30 to 50 km at a much higher speed than by surface transport. Our security considerations will apply for passenger drones as they do for other drones, Sinha added.
In Feb this year, Uber CEO had met with Aviation Minister and discussed about the future of commercial air travel. Small vertical take-off and landing aircraft or passenger drones which use electric propulsion will be essentially used for such short distance travel.
According to Uber Elevate, a network of small, electric aircraft that take off and land vertically (called VTOL aircraft for Vertical Take-off and Landing, and pronounced vee-tol), will enable rapid, reliable transportation between suburbs and cities and, ultimately, within cities. It will offer Vertiport-to-vertiport commute instead of point to point. It will need to be integrated with public transport.
VTOLs, by contrast, can travel toward their destination independently of any specific path, making route-based congestion less prevalent. The drone will travel between 150 and 200 miles per hour, up to 2,000 feet above the ground. A single charge will be good enough for 60 miles of range
On-demand aviation has the potential to radically improve urban mobility, giving people back time lost in their daily commutes.
Uber will start commercial operations of aerial taxis by 2023 in Dallas and Los Angeles.
As per the India government, at present drones can be deployed in India for commercial purposes from December but within the height of 400 metres.