Although “flying taxis” are not yet part of our daily lives, the technology is advancing, regulators are developing certification pathways, and the public is intrigued. Airlines, airports, and aerospace companies are incorporating new types of passenger transport into their plans. Meanwhile, automotive OEMs and others in the broader mobility ecosystem are carefully following developments related to electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, knowing that they could provide a new sustainable option for passenger transport at the urban and regional level.
Investors sense the momentum behind passenger advanced air mobility and are directing more funding to the sector—$4.8 billion in 2021 and $1.2 billion in the first months of 2022 alone. In our lifetimes, we will likely see this new form of air transport emerge. Many companies hope to receive regulatory certification for their eVTOLs by the middle of the decade. A future trip from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe could take under an hour by eVTOL, compared with almost four hours by car. Going from Zurich to St. Moritz would take about 30 minutes by air, compared with two-and-a-half hours by car.
This issue of Perspectives on advanced air mobility consolidates some of our most interesting research from the past few years, focusing on the core challenges and opportunities in this emerging industry. While many hurdles remain for passenger advanced air mobility, entrepreneurs, incumbents, and other industry stakeholders are prepared to tackle them. Supplementing our research, this compendium also includes interviews with leaders of three companies specializing in air-mobility concepts: Joby, Lilium, and Volocopter. These frontline accounts will provide an insider perspective on the industry.