Do you own a cab business? Get ready to add air taxis to your fleet

Hustle and bustle is a big part of a cab agency’s day job. Their vehicles spend most of their time in traffic shuttling impatient passengers. Sure, a strangely contented client may leave a sizeable tip once in a while, but usually, it’s just one tiring day after another for cab operators.

Nevertheless, going by the latest tech news, we may soon be waving goodbye to the traditional cab business model as we know it. How, you might ask? Well, the answer is electric air taxis.

Insiders call this new breed of flying machines e-VTOLs, which stands for “electrical vertical take offs and landing.” So far, exotic prototypes have been designed, built and tested by aviation companies ranging from Airbus to start-ups funded by determined billionaires like Google co-founder Larry Page.

Uber, the global leader in the rent-a-ride business, has also expressed a keen interest in living up to its name – “Uber” is German for “over” – by making it possible for renters to order up a lift by car or air taxi; whatever is most convenient for them.

We want to give customers as many options to move around as possible, and doing it in a three-dimensional way is an obvious choice,” says Uber’s chief product officer, Jeff Holden.

Autonomous Air Taxis (AATs) in Dubai

A key part of Dubai’s plan of becoming a city of the future is to have a good percentage of their public transport controlled autonomously by 2030. Since announcing it in February, the city’s AAT service has been seen as an exciting aspect of this goal.

Reports suggest that AAT testing will begin later this year and continue for five years, after which it should be ready for larger expansion.

Dubai will be the first city in the world to bring air taxis to the public, and its experiment will have a major role to play in shaping the future of transport. As American cities get ready to gauge the viability of the concept based on Dubai’s achievements, it won’t be long until air taxis come home.

Still a long way off

Although the idea of flying cabs may be exciting, it may be a while before your agency gets its first fully-licensed e-VTOL.

For starters, the Federal Aviation Administration will still need to determine how to certify e-VTOLs as safe and formulate air-traffic rules to govern them. Cities will also have to build vertiports and other infrastructure, and the public will need to accept the idea of flying vehicles crisscrossing city skies.

Nevertheless, e-VTOLs are bound to revolutionize the cab business in a big way. With electric energy getting cheaper every day, air taxi trips may eventually cost as much as cabs cost now. You can also expect progressive air-charter merchant account providers like eMerchantBroker to branch out into AATs at some point in the future to facilitate the automatic payment of fares.

Admittedly, all this sounds a bit ludicrous today. But going by the signs, you could soon be forced to expand your cab agency from renting cars to chartering flying vehicles.