The electric flying taxi service that Embraer SA is working on with Uber is “likely” to launch in 2024 or so, the CEO of Embraer Paulo Cesar de Souza has been quoted as saying.
While the idea of a commercial electric, intra-city flying taxi service launching only 7 or so years from now may not sound particularly believable to many people, the Brazil-based aviation firm’s CEO was confident on the matter … while also noting that business models and financial commitments with Uber had yet to be finalized.
It should also be noted here that the new comments add a year to the launch date — earlier comments from involved parties had placed the launch sometime in 2023.
Reuters provides more information: “Souza said the companies would soon determine specifications of the proposed vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. Engineers are projecting one-tonne vehicles transporting a pilot and 4 passengers at an altitude of 800 to 1,000 meters (2,600-3,300 feet), Souza said. The aircraft will be powered by batteries that can charge in as little as 5 minutes between flights, he added.
“The project has provided an outlet for engineering resources at Embraer, whose newest planes — a military cargo jet and a new generation of passenger jets — are well into their flight testing campaigns. Some 65 international delegations have shown interest in the KC-390 military transport aircraft that will enter the Brazilian Air Force next year, Souza said. The transition to a new commercial jet line-up is pressuring operations, but Souza said Embraer would meet the bottom end of its 2017 profit margin and aircraft delivery targets.”
I certainly won’t blame those that choose to remain skeptical of the proposal — or who have doubts about the ability for it to be commercially successful — but it still seems to be something worth keeping an eye on.