First Transit will join GoMentum Station and use the facility as a test site for innovative transit applications, including a pilot project with EasyMile and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) to deploy the first SAV shuttle on public roads in the U.S. The pilot project, which began in late 2016, recently launched the second phase of testing at Bishop Ranch, an office park in San Ramon, Calif.
SpaceX just conducted its first test of the Falcon Heavy’s main core.Elon Musk says his team will conduct a test launch of the Falcon Heavy in late summer as they prepare to orbit the Moon in 2018 with two passengers in the first commercial spaceflight.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has also expressed interest in commercial space travel. The company has developed the Dragon V2 spacecraft, capable of carrying seven people into space. Even more, they are looking to take their travel plans significantly further by promising a trip to the moon in 2018.
E-volo isn’t the only company working on flying cars, VTOLs, or a flying taxi service. Popular ridesharing company Uber has been working on one, too. Big companies and startups alike have been testing their own flying vehicles: there’s industry veteran Airbus, Larry Page’s Zee.Aero, and a Chinese startup called Ehang. More options should make the tech increasingly more affordable.
Manned multicopters for personal flight are definitely going to be a thing in the near future. On the industrial-grade side of things, you can look at eHang out of China, and their (dubious, in my opinion) plans to roll out VTOL air taxis in Dubai this year. Or Jetpack Aviation’s upcoming prototypes, or eVolo’s Volocopter.If you want to know how these things are most likely to impact your life in the medium term, you should check out Uber’s excellent Elevate whitepaper, which details how cruise-capable electric VTOL vehicles could make business sense in the coming decades, and does a great job outlining the technological, regulatory, infrastructure and capital issues that’ll need to be addressed before they start operating in commercial quantities.But multicopters are easy to build – heck, the entire drone industry was built on do-it-yourself hobby kits as recently five or six years ago. And we now live in a world where it’s easy and cheap to buy things like inertial measurement units, GPS units, electric motors and props. Flight controller chips from HobbyKing, Naze32, OpenPilot, DJI and a rash of others are cheap, reliable, reasonably bulletproof and come with easy-to-program software. Even the price of a decent sized lightweight lithium battery pack is coming down.So it’s natural enough that people are starting to build multicopters in their back yards that are big enough to carry humans around. The technology is easily available – just add cojones and stir.
We live in a time where Level 5 autonomous cars are close to becoming a reality, and more than one company is working towards bringing humans to Mars. Consider all this, it’s almost surprising that flying cars haven’t taken to the skies yet. But it turns out we may not have to wait too long: Airbus is planning to test a prototype, not only for a flying car but an autonomous flying car.