How would you feel if you could reduce your hours of commute, and use them to spend some quality time with your family? Does it sound like a scene out of a fairy tale?
On-demand aviation is not a dream; it is all set to be a reality, and Uber seems to be on the first page of this reality. Uber is planning to change the on-demand ecosystem completely by reducing travel time, and utilizing the travel space efficiently. With the urban air transportation, you can easily reduce the traffic congestion that occurs on the ground.
The idea is to have a network of small aircrafts that indulge in vertical take-off and landing(VTOL). The future will rely heavily on this concept. Moreover, when you look at the infrastructure needs, you are in for an advantage.
There are significant benefits to VTOL. Let’s have a quick look at them, before we proceed to the barriers that need to be considered.
Breaking the Barriers
The VTOL ecosystem consists of five key players who need to collaborate for effective operations, namely the regulators, vehicle designers, communities, cities and network operators. As of today, you will need to break the barriers that exist in the ecosystem, if your startup wants to ensure smooth air travel in the near future.
Let’s have a look at the challenges faced by each of the key element of the ecosystem, and how your startup can overcome these challenges.
For VTOLs to operate in the current ecosystem, you will need to take permissions and comply with the regulations set forth by the aviation authorities, namely the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency). Having said that, the VTOL is a new-on-the-block aircraft from the certification perspective. The certification process for new aircrafts and their concepts is relatively slow, which can prove to be challenging for the carriers. There is however a way in which you can overcome this barrier.
Overcoming the certification barrier
The VTOLs are a result of electric propulsion, which zero down the emissions and give out a pollution free environment, as in one more supporter for Paris Agreement. The electric batteries are the source of power in this case. However, the batteries, given their size, don’t stand a chance in the long journeys. The charge rate is slow, which makes it difficult for the rides to support high-frequency ridesharing. Again, the cycle life is less than 80%, which means the battery may need to be replaced quite often, increasing the cost.
Overcoming the battery barrier
While helicopters are the closest to VTOL, they are energy inefficient and not economically viable. Helicopters have been created with vertical flight focus. Flights with distributed electric propulsion can be used for ridesharing purposes but, till date no manufacturer has ever created an aircraft of the type for commercial purposes.
Overcoming the efficiency barrier
When you are opting for the ride-sharing concept, the first thing you want to achieve is best performance in the lowest time. You need to measure and optimize the time lag between request and drop-off. The performance of the vehicle plays a significant role in this measure and the system reliability, which is the measure of the time from request to pick-up need to be taken into account.
Overcoming performance & reliability barriers
While the ATC systems are pretty efficient to handle quite a moderate amount of air traffic, we are talking about VTOLs which will be used for commuting. The current systems will not be able to handle the exponential increase in the air traffic. Again, most of the operations occur at high altitude, while the VTOLs will operate at a significantly low altitude.
Overcoming the air traffic control barrier
The VTOL will be effective in a few years. It is time to mould the technology as well as the ridesharing concept for the VTOL. We will need to work on the barriers which include battery and performance in order to ready the VTOLs for ridesharing. Are you ready for the VTOLs?
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A little bit about me: I am a Marketing Manager at Space-O Technologies, expert in developing an app like Uber. Being a member of the mobile app development company, I spend most of my time working on the mobile app ideas and startup trends. I am a regular contributor for Entrepreneur and UpWork. If you have any question, or need any assistance regarding mobile app development process, feel free to contact me.