Case Western Reserve researcher works with NASA, other partners to build small, battery-powered aircraft in next several years
Need to catch a fast ride from Cleveland to Pittsburgh? Get ready to hail your first “air taxi”—and maybe sooner than you think.
A Case Western Reserve University professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is helping to create the light-weight, fully electric air vehicles that could make personal air travel for-hire a reality.
“I don’t have any doubt,” he said. “In a few years, you will be able to call an air taxi from Uber or someone else to travel maybe 100 miles in a vehicle with two other people. I’m very excited about this.”
Indeed, flying cars, now commonly known as “Personal Air Vehicles” or PAVs by the engineers designing them, have a long, fanciful history are hardly the stuff of cartoons, science fiction or Hollywood movies anymore. (We’re looking at you “Back to the Future.”)
Small personal aircraft are already in the early stages of production and numerous investors—from the ride-sharing company Uber to the federal government and multinational companies—are lining up to be part of the next revolution in human transportation.
In late September, the German drone company Volocopter staged a test flight “what it said would soon be the world’s first drone taxi service under an ambitious plan by the United Arab Emirates city to lead the Arab world in innovation,” according to the New York Post.
Earlier this year, Uber hired a 30-year NASA advanced aircraft engineer to lead its flying car initiative, dubbed “Uber Elevate,” and in July, a Russian company showed off a prototype of