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According to Experts, We’re 10 Years Away From Autonomous Flying Taxis



   •     Transportation experts believe autonomous flying taxis could be here in the next 10 to 15 years, but the challenges to their implementation are significant.

   •     While numerous companies are working on the technology needed for such vehicles, we will also need to make sure the infrastructure is in place to support their usage.









Way before Elon Musk planned to drill under Los Angelesto avoid traffic, several companies had already been toying with the idea of beating traffic by going over it. Indeed, flying carshave long been a part of science fiction, but they could soon become a part of our everyday reality. And once we have autonomous flying cars, it’s only a matter of time before we have autonomous flying taxis for those who prefer hitching a ride to owning one.


在伊隆·馬斯克Elon MuskSpaceX創辦人,以及特斯拉汽車PayPal的聯合創辦人而聞名。)穿梭在洛杉磯市區,避開交通堵塞之前,就已經有許多公司在玩味一個擊敗交通堵塞的點子,也就是用「越過」它來打敗它。飛行車輛在科幻電影中已經存在很久了,它們很快就會成為我們日常真實生活的一部份。一旦我們有自動飛行車輛,自動飛行計程車的出現就只是遲早的事了,為了那些比起擁有車輛更喜歡借搭一程的人。


According to a report by the Associated Press, experts think flying taxis could arrive in the next 10 to 15 years. “In terms of what you can make fly in a reliable manner, the solution speed gateway that (computer) chips have gone through recently have literally opened the door to a whole new world of flying machine possibilities,” Charles Eastlake, an aerospace engineering professor at Embry-Riddle University, told the AP. My best engineering guess is that people actually using autonomous air taxis in the next 10 or 15 years is possible, but definitely not certain. The challenges are big.”


根據Associated Press的報導,專家們認為飛行計程車在未來十到十五年內會出現:「這樣的交通方式會有許多問題要解決,好讓它有可靠的運作方式。最近有一個高速閘道器有解決方法,它最近已經通過電腦晶片的測試,開啟了飛行機器潛力新世界的大門。」  Charles Eastlake是安柏瑞德航空大學(Embry-Riddle University)的航空工程教授,他告訴Associated Press:「我在工程學方面的最佳猜測是,人們會在十到十五年內啟用空中計程車,但這是個巨大的挑戰,可能會有變數。」


Who Needs Roads? Flying Car Technology Takes Off







Certainly, recent developments in engineering have contributed greatly to bringing flying cars closer to reality. Still, there are other technical hurdles to overcome, and more still in order to develop flying vehicles that are autonomous. For one, there aren’t yet any flight versions of autonomous sensory systems found in self-driving cars. There’s also the challenge of battery weight, which is an issue even for current electric cars that stay on the ground — autonomous flying taxis would need much better, lighter batteries.




In addition to sorting out the technology, we’d also need ground infrastructure that would allow flying vehicles to operate unobstructed, with enough space for take-off and landing zones. There’s no question we can build the vehicle,” MIT professor John Hansman, who advises the FAA, told the AP. The big challenge is whether we can build a vehicle that would be allowed to operate in the places where people want to use it.”


在整理科技的部分之外,我們還需要地面的基礎設施,讓飛行器能順暢運作,有足夠的空間來起降。麻省理工学院MIT)的教授John Hansman曾給過美國聯邦航空管理局(FAA)建議,他告訴Associated Press:「這巨大的挑戰是,我們能不能建造出一個,能在有潛在顧客的地方獲得操作許可的飛行器。」


That isn’t an insurmountable hurdle, though, as ridesharing company Uber already has infrastructure plansfor a flying taxi service that relies on vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles. Indeed, they aren’t the only company thinking about this new era in travel. European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is keen on delivering a prototype of its A3 Vahana this year, with plans to have it ready for production by 2020. Israeli tech firm Urban Aeronautics has already created prototypes of its Cormorant, a people-carrying drone that’s intended for military use and that can attain speeds of up to 185 km/h (115 mph), hover for an hour, and carry up to 1,100 pounds. 


那並不是不可克服的障礙,共乘公司Uber 已經有飛行計程車服務的基礎設施計畫,這依賴垂直起降(VTOL)的飛行器來達成。當然,它們並不是唯一一家在思考這個新旅行領域的公司。歐洲飛機製造商「空中巴士」(Airbus)今年正專注於他們的自動飛行器平台原型 A3 Vahana發表,以及讓它在2020 年準備好作為產品生產的計劃發表。以色列科技公司「城市航空」(Urban Aeronautics )已經製造出它們的Cormorant 的原型,它是自動駕駛載人飛行器,針對軍事需求,時速可達185 公里(115 英里),可持續飛行一小時,可載重達1100英鎊。


Apart from these, there are still others: the VTOL Lilium JetAeroMobil 3.0, which uses regular gasoline; Chinese drone-maker EHang’s 184 person-carrying drone; Joby Aviation’s all-electric VTOL S2; and the Zee VTOL car, which Google founder Larry Page was supposedly spotted in, just to name a few. Undoubtedly, with all these projects in the works, it’s clear that flying cars and autonomous flying taxis are coming. It’s just a matter of how soon we can be ready for them.


除這些之外,還有:垂直升降的Lilium Jet; 使用普通汽油的AeroMobil 3.0; 中國無人駕駛飛機製造商EHANG 的,可乘載184 人的無人駕駛載人飛機; Joby Aviation的全電動VTOL S2; 以及Zee的垂直升降車輛,Google 的創辦人Larry Page 應該有參與投資,目前只有一些消息。毫無疑問,所有正在發展的計畫都顯示,飛行車輛和自動飛行計程車即將出現。唯一的問題只有我們接受它的早晚而已。