Look up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a... taxi?
Yes, sky taxis are coming, possibly as soon as next year. But these flying vehicles, which allow passengers and cargo to sidestep traffic by going aerial, aren't just aimed at cutting down on congestion. They're also designed to facilitate more efficient commutes between cities, and allow business travelers or goods to easily ferry between geographic regions. With two options in development—actively-manned and computer-controlled vehicles—the sky taxi business looks set for big things within the near future. But whether or not its services make sense for your business depends on many variables.
Expected to look like a combination of a helicopter and drone, sky taxis could begin active testing in 2020, though grand scale deployment may not actually occur until 2023. But with millions being poured into research and development by the world's leading universities and aerospace agencies, the transportation industry's eventual aerial overhaul seems inevitable. Pilot programs are set to kick off in Dallas and Los Angeles, with one of the world's most popular ride-sharing services already announcing its intentions to get behind the technology in a big way. From one-seat models to four-seater options that can accommodate full suites of passengers, even the U.S. Army (which is currently helping to craft vehicle prototypes) is exploring the possibilities here—underscoring the importance of these advancements.
Among the most fascinating business innovations anticipated in the next few years, sky taxis deserve to be on the mind of forward-thinking business owners.
From a business innovation standpoint, implications are considerable. Whether hiring piloted sky taxis to quickly ferry salespeople between field visits, or tapping artificially intelligent touchscreens to whisk yourself off to an important meeting on a moment's notice, potential upsides are plentiful. Sky taxis not only promise to allow for rapid delivery of payloads of cargo and goods on-demand, but also shortened business travel times and greater eco-friendliness. (Typically running on electricity, not fuel.) These futuristic aerial vehicles also herald the arrival of greater cost efficiencies, allowing organizations to spend considerably less hopping from site to site or providing more on-demand transportation solutions than a traditional jet or helicopter. Capable of hitting speeds of 60 miles per hour or more, if manufacturers have their way, you might one day be able to hail a sky taxi as easily as a yellow cab.
Potentially solving a number of transport, delivery and shipping challenges for businesses in virtually every field, the upsides of sky taxis include:
- More rapid, timely and cost-efficient transport and delivery services
- Greater flexibility in terms of logistics, field service solutions and workforce-deployment models
- On-demand pickup and drop-off between locales
- Less hassles and delays due to traffic and on-road congestion
- New dimensions to explore in terms of supply chain logistics, including support for more as-needed and on-demand solutions
Keeping this in mind, businesses of every size and in every industry—including consumer goods, food service and retail—could benefit from the arrival of these flying machines. Sky-taxi technology aims to help market leaders improve productivity, maximize efficiency and compete more effectively in a world where customers and business partners increasingly expect winning solutions in less time than ever before. As a result, not only could sky-taxi technology potentially help you boost your bottom line, it might also help you—thanks to the more efficient travel it hopes to enable—free up invaluable time on your schedule that you can reinvest in business growth and development.
However, questions still remain. For example, governments have yet to fully define the regulations under which these vehicles will operate and codify safety rules around them. It's also yet to be seen just how effective and reliable autonomous, computer-controlled sky taxis will prove to be when operated in real-world environments. Public interest and awareness is an additional concern as well, as the jury still remains out on just how widely businesses and individuals will embrace this technology—and how rapidly they'll do so.
And, of course, it's yet to be determined just how many manufacturers will make a push to put these vehicles in the hands of potential buyers. Nonetheless, the idea of air taxis and short-form flight as a means of commuting has long been a dream of futurists around the world—a dream that looks more and more likely to become reality in some form.
Among the most fascinating business innovations anticipated in the next few years, sky taxis deserve to be on the mind of forward-thinking business owners. So the next time you find yourself wondering how to cram more into any given day, or frustrated with traffic conditions as you sprint to an important meeting, remember: the future of business travel is not far off, and you won't have long to wait to punch a ticket for its maiden voyages.
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