Who is leading the Air Taxi Startup Race in India

Alan Joseph Alan Joseph
Apr 2, 2021 5 min read
Who is leading the Air Taxi Startup Race in India

There is a huge increase in population in India. The increase in population has led to an increase in the traffic in the metro cities in the country. The top cities in the country were ranked in the top positions for the highest traffic worldwide.

To bring a solution to this huge traffic and the delay caused because of that various startups have been working towards building Air Taxis. Letโ€™s look at some of the Air Taxi startups in India.

UDAN Scheme Air Taxi service

Indiaโ€™s first Air Taxi service was first launched in the Chandigarh airport. It was inaugurated on 14 January 2021 by the Chief Minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar. The Air Taxi service is launched under the UDAN scheme of the Central Government.

Airports Authority of India had tweeted on their official Twitter handle saying that, Indiaโ€™s first Air Taxi flight was flagged off by the Chief Minister of Haryana as part of their Inauguration. They added that the flight will operate under the Regional Connectivity Scheme RCS-UDAN.

The Chief Minister of Haryana said that this is the first time in the country that a small aircraft is used for services in the form of an Air Taxi.

The Air Taxi has the capacity to carry One Pilot and three passengers. The Air Taxi has the lightest plane which has a twin-engine in the world. It has a weight of 760 kg. The aircraft uses a standard 92 octane petroleum which is different from the normal flights which use Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF).

The aircraft can travel at a range of 742 Nautical Miles. The services can be availed at INR 1,755 per seat. The main objective of the aircraft is in line with the governmentโ€™s aim to connect the Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities with the metro cities of the Country.

A subsidy is provided by the government to the airlines per seat in order to provide better connectivity to the smaller towns. As per the reports the airline will cover around 26 routes under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) UDAN.


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Ubifly Technologies

Ubifly technology is a Chennai based startup that is working on developing e-planes in the country. Ubifly Technologies Private Limited was founded in the year 2016. The company is commonly known as the e-plane company.

It was founded by Satyanarayanan Chakravarthy and Panjal Mehta. The Startup is concentrated on developing electric planes and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The main aim of the startup is to bring a new definition for intracity travels and their products focus on short distance intracity travels.

Pranjal Mehta(Left) with Prof.Satyanarayanan
Pranjal Mehta(Left) with Prof.Satyanarayanan

The company is trying to build a hybrid mix of drones and electric aeroplane technology. The vehicle will take off and land in a similar way as the drone but will move forward in the air like an aeroplane.

The Startup has already designed three UAV models, Ek Hanz which will be used for delivering goods and services, Scout which is for security and surveillance, Vayu which will be a hybrid autopilot e-plane.

The company will develop a two-seater air taxi which will be called as e200.


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IIT Kanpur Air taxi

IIT Kanpur had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with VTOL Aviation India Pvt. Ltd. The deal is worth INR 15 crore. VTOL Aviation India Pvt. Ltd is an Indian private aviation company. The MOU is for building prototypes that will be operational and will be used as flying taxis.

The project is expected to be completed by 2023 where over 100 researchers from IIT Kanpur are working towards developing a fully functional prototype.

According to the deal, the researchers will first conduct a test to identify the feasibility of the project. This is to understand the key technological areas of the project and the rest of the project is expected to be completed by 5 years.

Ajay Ghosh who is the head of the Aerospace Engineering and the Flight Lab at IIT Kanpur has said that there will be more than 100 students working on the project in the coming years.

The researchers will work on developing the aircraft based on VTOL technology that is vertical takeoff and landing. They are working towards building an electric aircraft to promote clean energy and sustainability.

Uber Air taxi

Uber is working on developing an aircraft based on e-VTOL that is electric vertical take-off and landing. These are considered to be cleaner, cheaper, and safer than helicopters. Uber Elevate is working towards developing aerial ridesharing with Uber Air and is expected to take off in 2023.

Uber Air taxi Prototype
Uber Air taxi Prototype

In 2020 it was announced that Joby Aviation will acquire Uber Elevate. Both the parent companies have agreed to integrate their services into each otherโ€™s app.

Uber had announced that Dallas and Los Angeles as the two cities to begin their Air Taxi and Melbourne, Australia as its first international city to move forward with its expansion.

Uber has also said that it has shortlisted 5 countries other than the US to expand its Air Taxi services which include Japan, India, Australia, Brazil, and France.

FAQ

What does Air Taxi mean?

Air taxis are a small commercial airplane used for short flights between localities.

Which company is going to start drone air taxi service in India?

Malaysian budget airline AirAsia is planning to launch a flying-taxi business as soon as next year.

Does Dubai have flying Air taxi?

Dubai has one of the first major project of Air taxi, The Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) is an 18-rotor drone taxi. The company claims to be the world's first 'self-flying taxi service'.

Conclusion

Other than these there are some more companies working towards the Air Taxi services around the globe which include Vertical Aerospace, Hyundaiโ€™s helping hand, a joint venture between the Boeing company and Kitty Hawk Corporation.

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