As the world begins making plans to return to the new normal later this year and early next, one key sector where consumer demand will likely yield exciting and forward-thinking innovation is transportation. Gone are the days where more cautious travellers and commuters will feel fully at ease cramming into a busy train station or airport terminal. Luckily, both traditional and disruptor companies are answering the call for more exclusive and, sometimes even, more Earth-friendly transport options.
Electric cars with some sort of self-driving safety-first functionality will become the benchmark norm—with car makers such as Jaguar even committing to going all-electric by 2030—and mass- and distance-travel will be the subject of a major rethink.
Out west, hail-and-ride helicopter companies such as Blade are already ramping up in preparation for higher demand for private and semi-private short and longer-haul jaunts—including commuter flights between New York City and its upstate suburbs for anyone keen to avoid the Metro-North commuter rail—all while integrating Covid-19 safety protocols such as pre-flight testing into its lounge experience.
And by 2024 in Singapore and Paris, German startup Volocopter is predicted to launch air taxis: eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft, to shepherd both passengers and parcels from points A to B. The sustainable, scalable "air mobility" company has made it its mission to "bring affordable air taxi services to megacities worldwide," the corporate statement says.
In 2019, Volocopter piloted a public test flight at Singapore's Marina Bay. The company aims to deploy its air taxis in collaboration with local operations partners and air traffic management. Being first-to-market with this offering and technology would make Volocopter the standard-bearer for future competitors.