Vertical Aerospace lift off! UK’s first electric flying taxi could be taking you to work in four years

Amelia Heathman

Forget self-driving cars, flying air taxis could be taking you to work in four years’ time all thanks to Vertical Aerospace.

The Bristol-based start-up has been working on developing electric aircraft vehicles, designed specifically for vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL).

In June this year, the company’s eVTOL aircraft completed its first ever test flight, a major step in its mission to revolutionise how people fly.

The 750kg aircraft successfully flew across Cotswold Airport in Kemble, Gloucestershire, proving that its technology works and therefore paving the way for eVTOL aircraft to be used more regularly in the future.

Vertical Aerospace was founded in 2016 by Stephen Fitzpatrick, the brains behind OVO Energy, with an aim to make air travel on-demand and carbon-free. Over the past two years, the company has grown to 28 engineers and technical experts, from companies such as Airbus and Rolls-Royce, who have been working on the eVTOL aircraft.

The start-up wants to solve environmental issues surrounding air travel.

Annual air passenger journeys are projected to reach 7.2 billion by 2035, which will have a major impact on local air pollution.

Vertical Aerospace wants to make air travel on-demand and carbon-free (Vertical Aerospace)

With electric aircraft vehicles like Vertical Aerospace’s eVTOL, there are hopes that short-haul flights will be replaced with environmentally-friendly flying vehicles. Fitzpatrick and the team are hopeful they will be able to offer eVTOL services on specific intercity routes within four years.

Instead of flying from Manchester to London with British Airways for instance, you could be flying in a Vertical Aerospace eVTOL instead.

“The UK has a real opportunity to lead the world in eVTOL technology. We have a rich heritage in aviation. World-class engineers and technical experts train and work here. We have the global outlook and entrepreneurial spirit required to develop and commercialise this technology,” said Fitzpatrick.

“Designing and building technology with such disruptive potential could ultimately bring thousands of highly skilled jobs to the UK and secure our place at the forefront of aviation innovation. With the right support from the government, regulators and the wider science and engineering community, the UK can lead the way in personal, on-demand and carbon-free air travel.”

The race is on to be the first to develop flying cars and get people using them. This year, flying car start-up Kitty Hawk unveiled its new vehicle, The Flyer, which is “as easy to fly as playing Minecraft”.

As well, Uber revealed it was teaming up with NASA to launch a fleet of flying taxis.

NASA said the goal is to create a ride-share network that will allow residents to hail a small aircraft the same way you use the Uber app to call a car.

The future of your commute is in the skies.