The US’s first regional hub for ‘flying cars’ is being built in central Florida and once completed in five years, the vehicles will be able to take passengers from Orlando to Tampa in a half hour, officials said Wednesday.
The Tavistock Development Corp. said it was constructing a Jetsons-like aviation facility called ‘Vertiport’ in Orlando’s Lake Nona area, which is home to several medical and research facilities.
Lilium Aviation, Germany-based aviation company, is supplying the hub with its five-passenger flying vehicles, which would be a stepping stone to constructing a massive transportation network across the nation.
At the moment, the Lilium Jets can travel up to 185 miles (298 kilometers) on a one-hour charge.
Passengers wanting a ride on the aircraft will be able to book reservations via their phones in a way similar to ride-share companies Uber and Lyft, officials said.
City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer commented: ‘For this new technology to truly reshape the transportation ecosystem and benefit Orlando residents long-term, it is going to take a true partnership between cities, developers and transportation operators.’
‘We have been focused on finding the right partners to be a global leader in the advanced air mobility space.’
The vehicles flying and landing out of the Lake Nona Vertiport will accommodate four passengers and a pilot.
The cost will be similar to a first-class, though the price will likely go down as the service becomes more popular, officials said.
Unlike airplanes and helicopters, the vehicles offer quick point-to-point personal travel, at least in principle.
They could do away with the hassle of airports and traffic jams.
Battery sizes, air traffic control and other infrastructure issues are among the many potential challenges to commercializing them, according to experts.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Stacy Liberatore; The Associated Press