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The Aerospace Industry Isn’t Ready for Flying Cars

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We talked to Heinrich H. Bülthoff, retired director at the Max Planck Single tanzkurs recklinghausen for Biological Cybernetics, about the current study, the steps that are still required for personal aviation and the findings from the myCopter project. In the course of this EU research initiative, which ran from toBülthoff and his team studied the prospects for personal aviation. Pioneer of personal aviation: Heinrich H.

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Bülthoff, now emeritus director at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, predicted back in the early s that air taxis could soon be part of local transport concepts. I find it completely realistic.

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Of course, it won't happen on a grand scale by then. But I think that the first field trials will certainly be underway. And it will gradually expand from there.

There are single passenger flying car companies working in this field.

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Uber, for example, is extremely active in it. Will this form of transport only be available to those, who already have themselves flown about in helicopters? In the beginning it really will be more of an option for VIPs, for example to get from an airport to the city.

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Fraport AG and Volocopter are already working on this in Frankfurt. We also investigated similar questions for Frankfurt.

If these conditions are translated into any language other than English and there is any conflict or ambiguity between the English language version and the other version s the English version shall prevail.

Over the long-term the cost of air taxis will then certainly sink in line with increasing production numbers, so that more people will be able to use this form of transport. Why should passenger transport be moved into the air, at least partially?

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We spend infinite sums on roadworks and roads occupy an enormous surface area. In addition, people are being stuck in tailbacks for longer and longer periods, especially in the large urban centres. Air taxis are another alternative. You yourself have been conducting research into whether and how personal aviation may be possible since the s: there was even the EU myCopter project, which studied the subject between and How did people react to this?

People used to smile condescendingly when, in the early s, I used to say that we might see this happening in 15 to 20 years.

In a regular scheduled passenger service was started using a Supermarine Sea Eagle flying boat.

That was still the case as we wanted to launch a follow-up project for myCopter and I asked the major helicopter manufacturers if they were interested in collaborating. But we were still a bit ahead of ourselves at that time.

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Then, when the Chinese company Ehang presented its concept for individualized aircraft at single passenger flying car Consumer Electronics trade fair in Las Vegas, the car manufacturers also become interested.

What were your findings from the myCopter project?

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We demonstrated that personal transport in the third dimension is possible. To this end, we dealt with both technical questions and issues of public acceptance.

The Aerospace Industry Isn’t Ready for Flying Cars

Of course, we can't turn every car driver into a helicopter pilot. But it is possible bekanntschaften dinslaken simplify flying with the aid of automation.

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It currently takes our students just two hours to learn how to control and steer a helicopter. It generally takes trainee pilots ten hours just to learn to stabilize a traditional helicopter when hovering.

That is certainly too time-consuming and too expensive for training the many air taxi drivers that will be needed. It should be more straight forward with the right man-machine interfaces and automation technology.

In the beginning

Speaking of automation, will the aircraft even need pilots single passenger flying car the long-term or will they fly autonomously in the future? At the man-machine interface: Heinrich H. Bülthoff and his team use a helicopter simulator to investigate how flying can be simplified through automation.

Although fully automatic flight is already possible, pilots single passenger flying car certainly be needed in the beginning, because passengers are pretty unlikely to get into an air taxi unless there's a pilot up front. But if people become more and more accepting of assistance systems in cars then there will be driverless cars at some point.

Volocopter has already achieved fully automated flight in Dubai and is now planning tests in Singapore. In the USA too some metropolises have registered their interest in carrying out field trials of this type.

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What technical improvements are still required to help establish this technology? Because all currently planned aviation devices are powered either fully electrically or by hybrid motors, their range is very limited by the battery technology. And noise is also an issue still. I think further technical developments are necessary to address these issues.

You've already mentioned public acceptance and also addressed this aspect in the myCopter project: what were your relevant findings? We surveyed people in Liverpool, Tübingen and Zurich about this, because we were able to use simulators there to give the people in the focus groups a feeling of what it would be like flying to work.

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Then we asked the participants what they thought about it. We found major differences. In Liverpool we had people who get stuck in tailbacks every morning because they have to cross a bridge. In the simulation, they were able to simply fly over the bridge, which they found really great. Many people in Zurich said: we've already got a super infrastructure here, but even that is reaching its limits.

We can imagine personal aviation during the rush hour but not on weekends when we want to sit out on the balcony without having to watch something flying over it.

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