Singapore mulls flying taxis to improve urban mobility

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Terrafuga TF-X, one possible candidate for Singapore’s future flying taxi service

The Singapore Ministry of Transport has been busy in the past to hold talks with a number of innovative companies over starting test runs of flying taxis as a new form of urban transport. Such flying taxis could be remotely operated flying drones or even self-flying taxis, the ministry said, adding that it was an absolutely real option.

“In 2030, you bet your money that aerial transport will also be a means of urban mobility,” Pang Kin Keong, the ministry’s permanent secretary, told The Business Times.

The plan, which was discussed during a local mobility forum held this week, isn’t entirely new, though.

Airbus in January revealed that it will start testing autonomous mini-aircraft in Singapore this year, namely its Skyways drone delivery service, as well as possibly City Airbus, a concept for an autonomous helicopter that passengers would order with a smartphone app.

While Keong did not reveal with which companies the ministry is in talks about the flying taxi service, there are actually not that many. Apart from Airbus, companies Terrafugia, AeroMobil, Hoversurf, e-volo and Ehang so far have revealed prototypes for flying vehicles.

Terrafugia is a US-based company that, among others, produces a flying vehicle called the TF-X that is capable of both flying and driving along normal roads, while AeroMobil from Slovakia produces a flying car-like roadable two-seater with foldable wings.

Germany-based e-volo developed the VC200 Volocopter, an electric multi-rotor helicopter with a capacity for two people, while Russian startup Hoversurf recently announced its Hoversurf Scorpion, a single-seater vertical take-off and landing quadcopter drone designed to carry loads, billed a “motorcycle drone.”

Another company, Ehang from China, created the Ehang 184 autonomous aerial vehicle, a smart passenger drone which is planned to start operations as an aerial taxi this July in Dubai.

Such flying taxis make a good case for Singapore. The small city state prone to congestion has strict traffic rules and imposes hefty taxes on car import and ownership. Smart systems such as automated tolls reroute traffic to less busier roadways, and, as of late, Singapore has also been testing driverless taxis and on-demand minibuses.

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[caption id="attachment_29634" align="alignleft" width="300"] Terrafuga TF-X, one possible candidate for Singapore's future flying taxi service[/caption] The Singapore Ministry of Transport has been busy in the past to hold talks with a number of innovative companies over starting test runs of flying taxis as a new form of urban transport. Such flying taxis could be remotely operated flying drones or even self-flying taxis, the ministry said, adding that it was an absolutely real option. "In 2030, you bet your money that aerial transport will also be a means of urban mobility," Pang Kin Keong, the ministry's permanent secretary, told The Business...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Terrafuga TF-X, one possible candidate for Singapore’s future flying taxi service

The Singapore Ministry of Transport has been busy in the past to hold talks with a number of innovative companies over starting test runs of flying taxis as a new form of urban transport. Such flying taxis could be remotely operated flying drones or even self-flying taxis, the ministry said, adding that it was an absolutely real option.

“In 2030, you bet your money that aerial transport will also be a means of urban mobility,” Pang Kin Keong, the ministry’s permanent secretary, told The Business Times.

The plan, which was discussed during a local mobility forum held this week, isn’t entirely new, though.

Airbus in January revealed that it will start testing autonomous mini-aircraft in Singapore this year, namely its Skyways drone delivery service, as well as possibly City Airbus, a concept for an autonomous helicopter that passengers would order with a smartphone app.

While Keong did not reveal with which companies the ministry is in talks about the flying taxi service, there are actually not that many. Apart from Airbus, companies Terrafugia, AeroMobil, Hoversurf, e-volo and Ehang so far have revealed prototypes for flying vehicles.

Terrafugia is a US-based company that, among others, produces a flying vehicle called the TF-X that is capable of both flying and driving along normal roads, while AeroMobil from Slovakia produces a flying car-like roadable two-seater with foldable wings.

Germany-based e-volo developed the VC200 Volocopter, an electric multi-rotor helicopter with a capacity for two people, while Russian startup Hoversurf recently announced its Hoversurf Scorpion, a single-seater vertical take-off and landing quadcopter drone designed to carry loads, billed a “motorcycle drone.”

Another company, Ehang from China, created the Ehang 184 autonomous aerial vehicle, a smart passenger drone which is planned to start operations as an aerial taxi this July in Dubai.

Such flying taxis make a good case for Singapore. The small city state prone to congestion has strict traffic rules and imposes hefty taxes on car import and ownership. Smart systems such as automated tolls reroute traffic to less busier roadways, and, as of late, Singapore has also been testing driverless taxis and on-demand minibuses.

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