Paris to test flying taxis ahead of 2024 Olympics


Does this mean that the future promised by “The Jetsons” in 1962 – one with flying cars – is finally coming to fruition?

The city of Paris has announced an “unprecedented” program to launch flying passenger drones – which will serve as taxis during the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Pilot tests are already underway on their large-scale electric drones which they hope will be used to transport sports fans from one Olympic arena to another. They hope to establish two flight paths for air taxis, to reduce traffic in the densely populated city during the international event, which saw an average of around 6 million ticket holders. in recent years.

About thirty aircraft manufacturers across Europe have already been enlisted to perform test flights at Pontoise aerodrome in Cormeilles-en-Vexin, in Paris, including Volocopter, Airbus, Vertical Aerospace and Ascendance, Lilium and Joby Aviation, others are expected to join the project.

Organizers hope to establish two flight paths to transport Olympic Games participants from one event location to another.
Vandeville Eric / Abaca / Sipa United States

The CEO of Aéroports de Paris, Augustin de Romanet, said in a press release: “Our Pontoise aerodrome brings together a unique ecosystem around new air mobility and the experimentation platform we are launching today is unprecedented in Europe.

Augustin de Romanet continued: “It will function as a concrete experiment to explore the range of possibilities for low-carbon and innovative aviation, and to develop the low-altitude aviation market (less than 300 meters), largely unexplored until now. now.

Airbus planes
The image shows the drone cabin scale in relation to the helicopter and the Airbus passenger jet.
AFP via Getty Images

Catherine Guillouard, CEO of the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP), also declared: “The tests will make it possible to model an eVTOL [electric vertical takeoff and landing] theft at the scale of the vehicle, the district and the region, in order to anticipate and validate the location plans of the vertiports in Île-de-France.

The organizers have provisionally established air links between the Paris-Issy-les-Moulineaux heliport and the Saint-Cyr aerodrome, and from Charles de Gaulle and Le Bourget airports and a landing site to be determined somewhere in borders of Paris.

Airbus passenger drone prototype
Like standard drones, large-scale models intended for carrying passengers are also supplied with electricity.
AFP via Getty Images

Alexandra Dublanche, vice-president of the Ile-de-France region, described the air shuttle program as “must” in a city which has nearly 2.2 million of its 41 square miles.

The winners of the Olympic Games pose in front of the Arc de Triomphe
Parisian officials called the program a “must” in the densely populated city.
AFP via Getty Images

While the planes developed for the 2024 Olympics are intended for air travel only, true sky-road prototypes have already appeared in recent test flights, such as the Slovak-designed Klein Vision AirCar that transforms from a vehicle by plane in just three minutes. The “road plane” made one of its longest test flights last summer, between Slovakian airports of Nitra and Bratislava.

And, in 2020, Japanese company SkyDrive Inc. performed one of the world’s first successful test flights of a flying car with a passenger on board, which the company hopes to bring to market by 2023.

Traditional automakers are also entering the airspace race to see their flying vehicles take over, including Hyundai and Renault.

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