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Rolls-Royce is developing a flying taxi propulsion system

Ahead of the Farnborough Airshow this week, Rolls-Royce has announced it has designed a propulsion system for a flying taxi which it says could take to the skies in the early 2020s.

The British firm said it had drawn up plans for an ‘electric vertical take-off and landing’ (EVTOL) vehicle, which could carry four to five people and could travel at speeds of up to 250 mph for approximately 500 miles.

“Rolls-Royce is actively exploring a range of possible markets and applications for electric and hybrid electric flight,” said Rob Watson, head of the company's electrical team. “We are well placed to play a leading role in the emerging world of personal air mobility and will also look to work in collaboration with a range of partners.”

Rolls-Royce is the latest company to announce a flying car project, this list includes Airbus, US ride-sharing firm Uber and a range of start-ups including Kitty Hawk which is backed by Google co-founder Larry Page and DeLorean Aerospace run by John DeLorean’s nephew, Paul.

The initial concept for Rolls-Royce’s EVTOL system uses gas turbine technology to generate electricity to power six electric propulsors, specially designed to have a low noise profile and its wings would be able to rotate 90 degrees, enabling the vehicle to take off or land vertically.

The company, which will disclose more details at Farnborough, said it was looking for an airframe maker and a partner to provide aspects of the electrical system.

Tom Austin-Morgan

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