Several automotive giants have plans in the pipeline to come out with air taxis to ferry passengers. The list that includes the likes of Boeing, Hyundai, Airbus, Toyota and Uber also has the India firm ePlane Company.
Founded by an IIT Madras professor Satya Chakravarthy, who also serves as the firm’s CTO, it plans to ferry Indians in the country’s first electric flying electric taxi by 2023. As per Chakravarthy, the taxis will make passenger and cargo transport up to 10x quicker.
“We are developing the full-scale prototype, the ePlane e200, and aim to have the e200 cargo variant built towards the end of 2022 and undergo the certification process through the next year for it to be ready for commercial deployment approximately by late 2023,” Chakravarthy recently told IANS. The company raised $5 million in a pre-series A round earlier this year.
“The funding we raised has been crucial in developing the prototypes, performing tests and attracting the right talent along with building awareness,” Chakravarthy said.
The company plans to offer door-to-door, on-demand flying taxis at affordable rates. “One of our key differentiating factors is that we’re focused on making the ePlane (e200) one of most compact eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing) in the world that would cater to the mid-mile and last mile urban air mobility market segments, thereby alleviating traffic congestion in cities,” he added.
The aircraft’s design and compactness would ensure that no additional infrastructure is needed for takeoff or landing. This will make it more accessible and enable quick on-boarding and deboarding.
“The Indian government has already declared different zones for drone operations. A similar exercise would be adopted for aerial mobility for the class of e200 and above in due course. Until then, the present operating procedures for helicopters would suffice to handle a few 10s of aircraft per city and its vicinity. We are also closely involved with policy-making and certification right from the early stages,” he said.