Flying taxis are no longer in the realm of science fiction and, with the newly announced joint venture between Skyworks Global and Switch Mobility, your door-to-door, customized transportation experience may soon only be a click away.
Skyworks is the world's leading expert in gyronautics, a sustained autorotative flight platform. This type of technology directly supports the recently announced Uber Elevate Urban Air Taxi Concept. Switch Mobility is the provider of the first dynamic mobility as a service (MaaS) application that integrates real-time, micro-transit ride generation capability into a comprehensive transit platform for consumers. These two domain experts are joining forces to work on adding urban air movement to the end-to-end mobility trip chain that already includes multimodal ground transportation services.
This joint venture is the next step in today's rapid transformation of mobility and ushers in the introduction of a viable urban air taxi model. Unlike helicopters, which are expensive and rely on mechanically complex systems, the Skyworks gyroplane is a proven safe, simple, and sustainable technology whose various aircraft have been flying since 2002. The company is planning to start the FAA certification in the new year of one of its VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) capable aircraft. Future enhancements to this urban cab will include a hybrid propulsion system, an advanced composite body, and the option for manned or un-manned flights. Full electrification of future models is planned as well.
The Switch app functions as an automated mobility operator, seamlessly integrating legs of a trip together to deliver a customized, optimized, complete end-to-end mobility solution right to a user's smartphone. The app will launch in a soon-to-be-named prominent US City in early 2018 and can seamlessly integrate autonomous vehicles for use in supporting public and private transport operations.
"At a time when city planners are working on integrating varied services such as Lyft and Uber to mitigate first, middle, and last mile challenges, a fully flexible mobile service such as Switch coupled with Skyworks' safe, simple, and highly affordable aviation platform can provide consumers with a single, convenient end-to-end mobility solution," said retired Air Force General and Transportation Futurist John E. Michel. "This is an incredibly exciting time to be in the urban mobility industry. For the first time in history, technology has enabled the development of fully integrated, customizable MaaS platforms, which provides travelers with a simple means to assess and access the full range of available urban mobility services anytime, anywhere."
General Michel, who was responsible for leading NATO's 14-nation effort to build a modern $7B Afghan Air Force in the middle of an active war zone, is managing director of Switch Mobility, sits on the board of Skyworks Global and is the chairman of DemandTrans, whose demand-responsive transportation technologies (DRT) are currently deployed across many major cities across America.