Flying taxis will be tested in real conditions this winter, with the 2024 Olympics in sight

Soon new flying machines over the roofs of Paris and its suburbs? About thirty industrialists and institutions will conduct tests in real conditions for future flying taxis in Ile-de-France from the end of winter at an airport in Val-d’Oise, announced Thursday 25 November the promoters of this project. “We are going to create the first European ‘vertiport’ here,” enthuses Augustin de Romanet, CEO of Groupe ADP, manager of Ile-de-France airports, by participating in the inauguration of this area installed at Pontoise-Cormeilles airport. -en-Vexin, 35 km north-west of Paris.

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“This inauguration kicks off the first experiments in real conditions on electric vehicles with vertical takeoff and landing” (eVTOL, their acronym), according to a joint press release from ADP, the Ile-de-France Region and of the RATP. The transport company will provide the project with its laboratory analyzing noise and vibrations, explained to AFP its CEO, Catherine Guillouard: even much quieter than helicopters, “it is very important that these new vehicles and their operation is acceptable to the population “.

Read also – Dubai to welcome a fleet of autonomous taxis from 2023

The first eVTOL tested will be that of the German company Volocopter, but other startups such as Vertical Aerospace, Ascendance and Lilium are participating in the project, as are Airbus and Thales.

“Technologies that will change the aviation industry”

Pontoise airport was chosen because it is a “complete airport, with a runway of 1600 meters, a fire station, a control tower”, remarked Edward Arkwright, number 2 of ADP: “we want to test all the components of the device” during these operations which will start “at the end of February, beginning of March”.

There is also the question of “social acceptability” of these devices, recognized Catherine Guillouard, who hopes to see flying taxis transporting at the end of the decade “a few thousand passengers every day”. The objective is to limit the cost of a race to “twice the price of a VTC”, or a hundred euros, according to her.

Subject to certification, the project participants would like to set up two experimental lines, showcases of their know-how, during the 2024 Olympic Games: Issy-les-Moulineaux – Saint-Cyr (Yvelines) heliport, and Roissy- Le Bourget-Paris.

“These are not ‘gadgets’ that will be tested here. These are technologies that will change the aeronautics industry”, enthusiastically the Minister Delegate for Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, welcoming projects that are passing in the “reality” of mobilities hitherto “imaginary”, seen in films such as “Back to the future” or “The Fifth Element”.

Read also – Airbus unveils the CityAirbus Nextgen, a new concept of urban taxi

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