SHARE
COPY LINK

PARIS

Is the Paris public transport network set to get flying cars?

European aerospace giant Airbus and Paris underground operator RATP will study the viability of adding flying vehicles to the city's urban transport network, the companies said Wednesday.

Is the Paris public transport network set to get flying cars?
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a flying car. Photo: AFP

The firms will “explore the feasibility of urban air mobility services” in the French capital and the broader Ile de France region, they said in a statement.

“Airbus is developing demonstrators of autonomous and unmanned technologies,” said the company's chief executive Guillaume Faury. 

“This is not science-fiction any more, It is fact. Today we have all the technical tools. But they have to be integrated into everyday life without jeopardising our priority, which is safety,” he added.

RATP is a good partner in such a project because of its knowledge of the associated needs and services,” said Faury.

Photo: AFP

Chief executive Catherine Guillouard of RATP, which manages Paris' bus, train, and underground services, said mass transport remained the group's core business, but it also sought “to develop new modes of transport and new services for the smart city of the future”.

There have been several attempts around the world to develop flying cars, such as the Transition made by US firm Terrafugia and the AeroMobil, produced in Slovakia. 

Both have taken years and a lot of money to develop, and are yet to go on sale. 

“Flying cars are definitely coming within the next two to three years. The regulation is in place and authorities are actively supporting the innovation,” AeroMobil told AFP.

Levi Tillemann, author of the 2015 book: “The Great Race: The Global Quest For The Car Of The Future”, said safety was a major challenge.

“The only thing that really makes the idea of a flying car even remotely viable is a new generation of autonomous driving technologies that will reduce the likelihood of catastrophic failure.”

But he added that “from both a cost and energy consumption standpoint, ground-based transit generally makes more sense”.

Flying car prototypes have become regular attractions at the annual VivaTech exhibition, which opens in Paris Thursday. 

There are at least 20 flying car projects underway, and the Uber ride-sharing company is looking into “flying taxis”.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TRAVEL NEWS

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro

SHOW COMMENTS