Air taxis sound like something out of a James Bond movie or The Jetsons, conjuring images of autonomous flying cars buzzing people around in the air to avoid traffic below. For some leading-edge companies, that future is now.
In New York City, ride-sharing company Uber is retooling every part of human transportation as we know it, from bikes to scooters to buses. The company is also testing out its own flying taxis and is envisioning their 2.0 air taxis with cupholders and 5G in a partnership with AT&T.
With this mode of transportation up, up and away, Arizona-based Honeywell Aerospace is getting involved by announcing its intentions to develop urban air mobility units in partnership with a number of developers.
Even though New York City is already seeing some test units flying above its skyline at the moment, it’s just in the testing phase. But the industry is expected to be in full flight within five years, causing a stir among transportation companies and engineering companies alike to stake their claim. In fact, next year will see the push for full-time air taxis in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Los Angeles. Phoenix is not far off on the horizon as well.
“Honeywell’s extensive aerospace portfolio and deep experience in the industry positions us to be a leader in bringing UAM technologies to market. We’ve aggressively grown our work in the urban air mobility space over the past year by developing new products and partnering with other leaders in the space,” says Rolly McFarlin, senior director of new business development for electronic solutions at Honeywell Aerospace. “We truly believe urban air mobility and eVTOL will change the way the world moves, and we’re ready to help lead that change for a better future.”
Honeywell Aerospace is partnering with an unnamed-at-this-time air taxi developer, providing its new IntuVue RDR-84K band radar system. The fly-by-wire system for urban air vehicles boasts the capabilities of an airliner’s flight controls and is designed to boost stability, safety, and agility to the electric vehicle takeoff and landing aircraft.
The radar system is electronically steered and cuts out mechanical parts on radars and can also be used for smaller aircraft. The system is developed and manufactured at the Phoenix facilities for Honeywell Aerospace, where a myriad of other projects are underway including new flight control and avionics systems with Jaunt Mobility, a New Jersey-based startup, a hybrid-electric powertrain project with Japan’s Denso, and the testing and development of new navigation landing systems for Germany’s Volocopter.
Honeywell is getting ahead of the curve with air taxis by developing the software that makes the compact flying cars zip through the skies. Currently under testing and development, the IntuVue RDR-84K Radar system helps collect relevant information for operators and is a customizable software system for companies who use it to fly their taxis.
The system cuts down on the number of sensors, hardware requirements, installations, size, weight, and power needs of a regular electronically steered antenna. It uses multiple beams that can scan simultaneously and detect many different inputs including other aircraft, terrain, and runways all at once. The goal is to completely automate the flying experience while boosting safety, keeping the air taxis from coming in contact or near contact with buildings, other aircraft, and general terrain.
Photo courtesy of Uber