There will be more than 430,000 urban air taxis in operation by 2040, according to a new Frost & Sullivan study. The international consulting firm predicts that operations will begin as early as 2022, initially in the UAE, New Zealand, and Singapore, followed by Brazil and Mexico.
This would mean new aircraft being delivered at an exceptional annual rate of almost 24,000 units. None of the new-generation electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft have completed type certification to date.
"Globally, almost 50 cities are considering the feasibility of UAM, and most of the applications are focused on cargo drones, which will eventually open up the market for passenger UAM vehicles," said Frost & Sullivan senior mobility analyst Joe Praveen Vijayakumar.
"Safety, noise levels from propulsion, infrastructure for landing and takeoff in urban areas, and favorable regulations will be key focus areas for the commercialization of air taxis," noted Vijayakumar. "Original equipment manufacturers will be looking to especially invest in hybrid fuel systems, lightweight high-strength composite materials, and alternative energy sources such as solar and lightweight high-capacity batteries to achieve fuel efficiency and longer range."
The study notes the potential for companies to profit by incorporating multiple fail-safe mechanisms in their vehicles to instill confidence in potential passengers; collaborating with companies developing innovative next-generation rotors and propellers that can muzzle sound; establishing the support infrastructure, including landing and takeoff stations, passenger waiting lounges, and landing pads in residential buildings; and developing internal cybersecurity capabilities or acquiring cybersecurity startups to safeguard their vehicles.