Rolls-Royce develops ‘flying taxi’ technology

A prototype system for vertical take-off and landing could pave the way for "flying taxis" by 2020.

A new electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) system, unveiled by Rolls Royce, uses gas turbine technology to propel the vehicle with minimal noise and without the need for recharging.

The engine manufacturer unveiled the new development at Farnborough air show this week, and says it is searching for partners who can assist in making the idea a reality.

Equipped with wings that rotate 90 degrees and fold away at cruising height, the vehicle can carry four or five passengers at speeds of up to 250mph for around 500 miles.

Rolls Royce said it could be used for personal transport, public transport, logistics or military applications.

Rob Watson, head of Rolls-Royce's electrical team, said the development is part of an "exciting and inescapable trend" in electrification that "will ultimately be a revolution".

"Building on our existing expertise in electric technologies and aviation, Rolls-Royce is actively exploring a range of possible markets and applications for electric and hybrid electric flight," he said.

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Other aviation and technology leaders, including Airbus and Uber, have also been investing in vertical take-off technologies that could make electric flying taxis a reality.

Using existing infrastructure like helipads or airports, Rolls-Royce has suggested the new technology could bring flying vehicles to our streets by the next decade.

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