Rolls-Royce joins the race to develop a flying taxi

  • Rolls-Royce said it is now looking for partners to build a commercial airframe.
  • Four or five passengers could be accommodated at speeds of up to 250mph.
  • The company said the EVTOL concept could be adapted for personal transport, public transport, logistics or military applications.
 
Rolls-Royce
 

Rolls-Royce has taken the wraps off an electric “flying taxi” concept that it claims could be in full production by the early 2020s.

The U.K. engine manufacturer teased the new development on Twitter over the weekend before displaying the vehicle at the Farnborough International Airshow on Monday. Rolls-Royce said it is now looking for partners to build an airframe and develop some of the electrics in readiness for a full commercial version.

Rolls-Royce said once cruise height is reached, propellers on the wing fold away to reduce drag and cabin noise. The craft then switches to two rear propellers for thrust.

Four or five passengers could be accommodated at speeds of up to 250mph for a range of around 500 miles, according to an accompanying specification sheet.

The U.K. engineering firm added the electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) concept uses existing gas turbine technology to generate electricity, negating the need for recharging.

Rob Watson, who leads Rolls-Royce's electrical team, said in a statement that the development is part of an electrification trend that will "ultimately be a revolution."

The company said the EVTOL concept could be adapted for personal transport, public transport, logistics or military applications.

The concept of flying “cars” is fast developing as aviation and tech firms compete to make them a reality. Google co-founder Larry Page, ride-sharing app Uber and Airbus are just three others that have announced competing concepts.