Rolls-Royce plans to foray into flying taxi market

It has designed a propulsion system and is looking for partners

British jet engine maker Rolls-Royce has designed a propulsion system for a flying taxi and is in search for partners to help develop a project it hopes could take to the skies as soon as early next decade.

Rolls-Royce said on Sunday it has drawn up plans for an electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) vehicle, or flying taxi, which could carry four to five people at speeds of up to 250 miles per hour for approximately 500 miles.

The company, which makes engines for planes, helicopters and ships, joins a variety of companies racing to develop flying taxis, which could revolutionise the way people travel.

For long the stuff of science fiction and futuristic cartoons such as The Jetsons, aviation and technology leaders are working to make electric-powered flying taxis a reality, including Airbus, U.S. ride- sharing firm Uber and a range of start-ups including one backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, called Kitty Hawk. Rolls-Royce’s design will be showcased in digital form at the Farnborough Airshow, which starts on Monday. The company is looking for an airframer and a partner to provide aspects of the electrical system to help commercialise the project.

The firm said in a statement that it was well-placed to play a leading role in the “personal air mobility” market. “The concept vehicle uses gas turbine technology to generate electricity to power six electric propulsors designed to have a low noise profile,” the company said, adding the design used its existing M250 gas turbine.

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