Sunday, April 5, 2020

An Electric Flying Taxi That Addresses The Death Zone Problem

Our boilerplate (since '16!) introduction:
As the only analysts covering the nascent as-yet-theoretical autonomous electric flying taxi market we intend to be the the go-to source for all things autonomous electric flying taxi and/or theoretical....
And from New Atlas an electric vertical take-off/landing design that I might actually climb aboard:

Jaunt’s ROSA gyrodyne: The first eVTOL air taxi that actually looks safe!/format/webp/quality/90/?
This eVTOL air taxi design looks like a weird helicopter/plane hybrid, but it's the safest of all the eVTOL designs we've ever seen, and it has another killer advantage in that it requires no special certification. That's huge news in the emerging 3D commuting market, because it could make this thing much, much cheaper to get off the ground.

To understand why this thing is such a great idea, let's recap two of the main hurdles that every other eVTOL designer is facing: safety and certification. The safety issue seems huge to us, although many of the eVTOL manufacturers we speak to don't seem to see it as insurmountable. In a total failure scenario, all eVTOLs designed around multiple small rotors have a bit of an issue: they'll simply plummet to the ground.

You can solve this problem using a ballistic parachute that fires out and brings them down gently, but below a certain altitude, maybe 120 feet or so, these 'chutes don't have time to fully open and deploy, leaving these aircraft negotiating what we've been calling a "death zone" every time they take off and land. It's only for a short amount of time, but the consequences of total failure in this zone would be equally total, and just one such crash in the early days of air taxi services would undermine passengers' faith in the entire eVTOL sector.....MORE
I'm not sure I care for the "let our mums ride" line.
The Uber livery is also a bit of a turnoff but truth be told our first use of the intro was in Oct. 2016's "Uber to Challenge Airbus in the Autonomous Electric Flying Taxi Business".

And relatedly:
Dec. 2019 
ICYMI: Chinese Autonomous Electric Taxi Co., EHang, Did Their U.S. IPO Last Week (EH)
Dec. 2019 
"Footage reveals hydrogen-powered 120mph 'drone' that’s a cross between an aircraft and SUV that its creators say will form a 'fleet' of flying taxis, cargo carriers and ambulances"
January 2019 
"Boeing's self-flying taxi completes its first flight" (BA)
December 2018
"Morgan Stanley says market for self-flying cars could rise to $1.5 trillion by 2040"
July 2018 
Rolls-Royce Presents Electric ‘Flying Taxi’ at Farnborough Airshow
February 2018
Airbus Tests Its Autonomous Flying Taxi
Nov. 2017
Sept. 2017
[Didn't happen]