Rolls-Royce reveals flying taxi

Rolls-Royce has revealed plans for a “flying taxi” at the Farnborough International Airshow.

The concept electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) vehicle has the potential to be adapted for personal transport, public transport, logistics and military applications.

Rolls-Royce has stated that the vehicle is to use gas turbine technology which will generate electricity for six electric propulsers. It is to be able to carry four to five passengers at up to 250mph for 500 miles.

The vehicle could be available by the early to mid 2020s.

The announcement comes as part of Roll’s Royce’s strategy to ‘champion electrification’, and builds on experience from hybrid electric propulsion for trains and naval vessels alongside expertise on gas turbines, VTOL technology and aerospace regulation.

Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce President, said of the Farnborough International Airshow: “Farnborough is a highlight of the aerospace calendar and it’s a real pleasure to be back here, demonstrating the best of Rolls-Royce.

“A huge amount has happened in the two years since the last Farnborough Airshow. We have introduced no fewer than four engines to the market, the Trent 1000 TEN, the Trent XWB-97, the Pearl 15 and the Trent 7000, which of course is making its debut appearance here at Farnborough, powering the Airbus A330neo.”

“But we have faced some significant challenges too, notably with our Trent 1000 fleet. We sincerely regret the disruption caused by the need for additional checks and maintenance on these engines and we continue to be intensely focused on resolving the issues our customers face.”

Looking forward, Chris Cholerton added: “Our strong position on new widebody aircraft is driving substantial growth across our civil aerospace business. Customer feedback on the Trent XWB-84 on the A350-900 has been very positive and the Trent XWB-97 is now powering three Airbus A350-1000 aircraft in service, and is doing so with full ETOPs capability.

“The Trent 1000 TEN fleet continues to power a growing fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft and we’re looking forward to the Trent 7000 receiving full certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) imminently. Recognising some of the recent issues we’ve experienced in parts of our fleet, all of our engines entering service today are supported by enhanced maturity testing to provide early identification of any areas for further improvement and to ensure the best possible service reliability.

“We remain on track to deliver a record number of engines this year and we are supporting this growth with investment in our facilities, including the development of a new testbed in Derby, UK, as part of a wider £150m investment across the UK. All of these achievements drive us further towards our goal of achieving more than 50% market share in the widebody sector by the early 2020s, up from just 14% in 2000.”