As a kid, my favourite movies were Knight Rider and Back to the Future. Back to the Future will always take the cake for me though, and that’s mainly due to the flying DeLorean. Such a fantastic vision! So is it still just a day dream of future? Nope! The future has long since arrived in the present. Because flying cars, also known as passenger drones, have been around for quite a while now. And the plans are neither still up in the air nor do you have to watch the futuristic air show through virtual reality glasses. No, they are available live, flying and in color.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED –
THE AIR TAXI CONQUERS THE WORLD

Category: Mobility     Text: Angela Peltner

Photo: EHANG
As a kid, my favourite movies were Knight Rider and Back to the Future. Back to the Future will always take the cake for me though, and that’s mainly due to the flying DeLorean. Such a fantastic vision! So is it still just a day dream of future? Nope! The future has long since arrived in the present. Because flying cars, also known as passenger drones, have been around for quite a while now. And the plans are neither still up in the air nor do you have to watch the futuristic air show through virtual reality glasses. No, they are available live, flying and in color.
EHANG – THE TREASURE FROM CHINA
As the drone amateur that I am, I’m familiar with normal drones that can look down on me on vacation on the beach or even bring an Amazon order to the neighbour. But EHANG, self described as the world’s first air taxi, is quite unique. Together with the German insurance company ALLIANZ and their ALLIANZ’S GLOBAL EXPLORER PROGRAM, the vision ‘Flugtaxi’ has gathered momentum in the last three years. Eight arms and 16 rotors support the egg-shaped vehicle during departure. To allow this aircraft to fly unmanned, a new type of laser beam technology was needed. It replaces the classic radar (abbreviation for radio detection and ranging), which works with radio waves. This means that telemetry, distance and speed measurement and atmospheric parameters are taken over by the new technology. Much like before, but much more accurate. After all, in the air, there is less room for error than on the ground.

Smart Flight: EHANG is the safest, smartest and most environmentally friendly low altitude autonomous aircraft. With its eight arms and 16 rotors, it aims to provide communication and transport solutions for medium and short distances. Photos: EHANG
THE CHALLENGE: URBAN AIR MOBILITY
Low emissions, virtually silent and efficient. Just three of the advantages for the more relaxed way of driving tomorrow. This was also ALLIANZ’s exciting fundamental idea to clear the road or, in our case, the airspace from the get go. Faithful to the saying: “A ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” Courage, the spirit of research and the belief in progress have always driven people forward. The Wright brothers didn’t gave up tweaking on their the first plane and took off with it, despite the risk and danger. In 1890, the year ALLIANZ was founded, people still believed that this crazy thing with cars would be over soon while they sat in their carriages and rode across the country with one horsepower. One of the world’s largest insurance companies understood that these ideas, these curious people had to be brought together and strengthened. So that the future could begin now. Always higher, faster, further!
So, the agenda was clear and was backed up with the big ALLIANZ EXPLORER SERIES on March 21st this year in Shenzhen. It’s all about expansion.
It’s about people who think ahead and whose visions can become reality with the help of strong partners. In the camp in the Greater Bay Area, the leading heads of the EHANGS presented their latest findings. Wild discussions were held: Would the sky truly become our new highway? How do we get the air taxi to stay in the air even longer? So far, the EHANG baby can convert about 80 miles into 160 km/h with a vertical takeoff and landing, but that’s just the beginning.
FANTASTIC INVENTIONS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
I’d be curious to know whether the creative minds at EHANG have ever visited the “Fantastic Library” in Wetzlar, Hessen in search of inspiration for their passenger drone? The library is home to over 300,000 sci-fi books and booklets that are waiting to be read and used as a source of inspiration. After all, this extensive library works very closely with politics, business and science, and I’m sure that the air taxi idea is written somewhere on one of those pages; certainly long before Marty McFly and his flying DeLorean. Speaking of flying! I only have one request for the clever heads of EHANG and Co. Next, could you please invent passenger drones with a time travel function? Now that would be something…

#explorewithus #allianz #ehang #flugtaxi #urban #air #mobility #future #urbanairmobility

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