Larry Page’s Flying Taxis, Now Exiting Stealth Mode

New Zealand has opened its skies to self-piloted electric planes financed by one of Google’s founders.

Comments: 29

  1. Hmmm, read today's story about the NYC helicopter crash. Also read the comments from people who live nearby. I'm trying to imagine a sky full of these things, and what that may mean for safety and peace and quiet. But Larry Page needs to make more money.

  2. I often think about solutions such as this every time I wrestle with the idea of buying a million dollar fixer upper in Silicon Valley and paying it over 30 years when we could see autonomous planes/drones in maybe 10 - 15? What will happen to real estate values in expensive areas such as Silicon Valley when a 30 minute flight can get you to work 100+ miles away?

  3. It would be good if I could buy this and not have to get my pilots license. But doesn't the AI need to have a pilots license? How much does that cost and what kind of training does the AI need to get, and where do I take it to get the training? I still think a pilots license should be required by someone or something. This is very confusing and difficult for me to understand. I am going to have to figure this out and solve it before I go ahead and write a check!

  4. Taxis? No, but possibly a way to ferry oligarchs and Trump government appointees between Trump Towers.

  5. Really cool, until you consider that the sight and sound of the coming hordes of air vehicles will extinguish clear blue skies, overpower the sound of birds singing, and mar the view of the mountains and clouds in their pure beauty. This is short-sighted and we will regret it.

  6. They are electric, so probably very quiet.

  7. Indeed, i would love to see electric powered aircraft-even a return to slower prop powered craft-maybe half as fast as slow jets-would be a vest improvement to the immense hydrocarbon pollution jet fuel burning represents. However, the idea of a plastic aircraft without a fully cognizant and capable pilot, flying always on auto pilot, makes me more then nervous and, until someone makes such a vehicle capable of self rescue via a parachute or just creating a giant blimp like gasbag, filled with hydrogen-which can be used also as fuel for fuel cells, I cannot see such toy-like flying vehicles as highly trustworthy -there is too much room for error, for hacking of computer guidance or merely for failure of one or two parts-just enough to crash the entire device ASAP.

  8. I cannot understand the power a flying car has to capture the imagination (and money) of rich people that should know better. Forget the energy requirements for vertical takeoff (might as well, all the proponents do) just think of the maintenance costs of so many engines (3-7?) and rotors (13). That's before you get to the tricky parts -- fog, snow, night, birds, air traffic, noise and liability when something goes wrong. (Something always goes wrong.) Oh well, I guess when you have a few billion to spare (lose) you can take a shot at being the next Sikorsky.

  9. They are already flying. Batteries are getting more energy dense by orders of magnitude - and fuel cells are making new performance levels. Electric motors are far more reliable and require less maint than combustion engines. Auto-pilot software already flies better landing approaches than actual pilots

  10. Unlike piston motors, (or even jet engines) electric motors are extremely low maintenance and very reliable. That's why all these various air taxi concepts are built around them.

  11. This is a full automated aircraft. Nothing can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, ...

  12. RCMP in rural Saskatchewan, Canada could use this vehicle. Current response time on a call is usually over thirty minutes. Weather is usually clear and land is flat.

  13. A range of 100 kilometers stries me as meager for an air taxi. Still this is an interesting proof of conccept.

  14. cute, but I'm holding out for personal jet packs.

  15. What a wonderful benefit this will be to humanity. Sorry, I mean rich people.

  16. The same could have been said when cars were invented. Or computers. Or pretty much any new technology.

  17. More like a ferry than a taxi, but oh my, this is cool.

  18. I hope this article makes MTA officials sweat a little...

  19. 100km range is insufficient for most applications given the margins needed for safe operation. Improvements in battery performance will determine its success.

  20. What studies are being done on the impact on wildlife, noise levels over urban areas, and the safety of filling our skies with small aircraft?

  21. I can imagine an air train of flying taxis on prescribed flight paths alleviating crowding on highways and at airports. Fleets could be at the ready for fire & flood evacuations.

  22. Good for Larry. This is one of those moving forward ideas and it is good to learn about it. What is especially important is that it is electric.

  23. Oh, such glorious pileup accidents with a sky full of these things! And the possible loss of… well, let's see, two rich people per plane times say, 10-20 to a big wreck. Well, the death toll might be lower than for passenger cars. But then who would they land on in such crashes?

  24. With all the challenges face the human race, it’s too bad big tech thinks that flying taxis for the rich, autonomous vehicles, space tourism etc., are things to get exited about. We have real problems here on the the ground, but our billionaire man-children are shure they have the answer, and it’s toys.

  25. Hate to say it but this is an absurd nonstarter when it comes to serving social transportation needs. I'd vote for denser (walkable/bike-able) urban areas with mass, rapid transit - entirely underground. Dump the car. Flying taxis are just a ridiculous work around. After all, people fled to the suburbs (gutting the inner cities) not because it made sense but because it made the Big Three tons of money and land developers rich. Not to mention the retrograde effort to avoid the consequences of Brown v. Board of Education. I think it makes more sense to save hundreds of millions of people billions and trillions of man-hours rather than a hundred thousand people a few million man-hours. That's called simple math. If anyone wants to elevate this beyond my back-of-the-envelope calculations... be my guest.

  26. As if the world needed more high-tech playthings. What a waste of time.

  27. I guess if I have to ask how much a trip in one these babies would cost I can't afford it.

  28. God, what were the comments in the NYT when the Wright Brothers first flew, "who wants to fly" "this thing will never work" "where is the cabin and meal service" "only goes 600 feet, not practical"

  29. Just scanned the 30 comments already posted, and was surprised to see no one mentioned a huge and practical barrier: the current U.S. air traffic control (ATC) system. It can barely keep up with today’s traffic demands. ATC still runs on radar (cool technology in the 1930s; today not so much) and little paper strips that represent aircraft. Congress is uninterested in the solution that would hasten modernization toward GPS and other modern technology: spinning off the ATC system from the FAA into an independent, not-for-profit corporation like Canada and many other industrial countries (including New Zealand) have already done, with great success. The biggest opponents to the spinoff? The fat cats who use private jets, effectively represented by a trade association called NBAA. You might ask your senators and representatives about that!