Among luxury vehicle brands there is one name that stands above all others: Rolls-Royce. So there should be some excitement in the idea of a Rolls-Royce flying taxi. As most know, Rolls-Royce makes jet engines (they make boat engines too) for many of the world’s commercial aircraft. If you’ve flown in an Airbus or Boing 777 aircraft, you’ve likely been propelled into the sky by a Rolls-Royce engine.
Rolls-Royce has developed a concept vehicle that utilizes a hybrid electric motor (it uses batteries powered by gas turbines) and is capable of carrying up to five passengers at a top speed of 250 miles per hour with a range of 500 miles. The vehicle, which is not associated with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars (they’re own by BMW), can take off and land vertically and is powered by six propellers. It should be noted Rolls-Royce has some experience in vertical takeoff and landings, as they are the muscle behind the British Harrier Jump Jet and the V-22 Osprey military aircraft capable of some pretty amazing tricks.
“Electrification is an exciting and inescapable trend across industrial technology markets, and while the move to more electric propulsion will be gradual for us, it will ultimately be a revolution,” said Rolls-Royce Executive Rob Watson.
The vehicle, which can be customized to transport either people or cargo, will eventually rely on an internal pilot navigation system, meaning one just hops in and tells it where they want to go. This is obviously a bit further along the roadmap and will initially require a pilot.
The flying taxi space is becoming crowded, with Google’s Larry Page, Uber, and others entering the race. It seems this will likely become big business someday soon, which is exciting. One can imagine summoning an air taxi to their home, flying quickly to a location, and being set down, all without a pilot or any special training. Are we finally going to get our flying cars?