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Blake Dowling: Air taxis promise a lift to the skies — maybe

Air taxis are in the news. And it’s about time. Again.

At one point over the weekend, I usually send an email to myself on the subject of my next column for the upcoming week.

Sometimes, I send notes on an idea, an outline or the people in Florida I want to check in with, hopefully balancing some valuable tech or other information with a hint (a very small amount) of wit.

This week’s Blake to Blake email said: “XMAS GIFT column.”

Hmmm, pass. It’s too soon; it’s still 90 degrees outside. So, no collaboration with Santa just yet, readers.

Instead, we will talk about innovation in Florida, fresh tech coming at you — Jetsons’ style.

That’s right ladies and gents, this is your read on flying taxis. And it’s about time. Again.

I first wrote about flying taxis in 2017, when Uber Elevate said at that time, they might be providing demos by this year. You can read up on that here; let’s check in with them before we get started. Are they on target?

They certainly have a slick website, but I do not see any mention of demos in action. You might say they aren’t getting off the ground with the effort just yet. (Pun, sigh, ha! Crickets.)

They do have a new video from last year; an upgrade to the 2017 column I mentioned earlier:

It says coming your way in 2023, so cheers to that!

Flying taxis are back in the news, and it is not Uber on the West Coast. This time, the latest and greatest on this tech is from Orlando.

A German firm, Lilium Aviation, is in talks with the city to build a 50,000 ft + facility that would manufacture electric vertical takeoff and landing jets (fancy talk for flying cars) and create 100 + jobs.

Image via Lilium.

The City of Orlando has a “Future Ready City” plan and apparently, this initiative is part of it. Their roadmap is spelled out in their website and it’s pretty fantastic.

It looks like as of this week the talks are nearing completion and a million dollars is on the table in tax incentives to get the project going.

These taxis are to be used for short-distance transportation filling a void and supplying a low-cost alternative to traditional air or ground transportation service.

If you lobby for the major airlines, I am sure your head just spun or you laughed, surely this is years away? Not so fast, says the team at Lilium.

Their first flight launched last year, and they are set to be fully operational in five years.

These planes are electric, and they take off vertically with 36 motors providing the thrust to move the craft.

It is a flying taxi race (if you will) and whether it is Uber, Airbus or Lilium someone will be first to market.

Personally, I think this is very cool.

Imagine a five-person ride from Pensacola to Tallahassee, soaring almost 200 MPH, popping some Doghead Brewery Slightly Mighty IPA while the pilot tells you the weather stats and points out scenic Panama City Beach, etc. — all while enjoying the ride.

Let’s hope this gets off the ground ASAP; when was the last time you can say you had an awesome taxi ride?

 

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Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies and hosts the Biz & Tech podcast. He also recommends Dogfish Slightly Mighty as the beer of 2020. It is almost perfect; luckily, the quest for the perfect ale may never end — and so continues our noble journey.

Written By

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com or at www.aegisbiztech.com

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