Will we use individual flying capsules for quick trips in tomorrow's cities?

Caps on show at Viva Technology 2021. — AFP Relaxnews

French startup Caps has come up with a new urban mobility concept in the form of a single-seat, autonomous air transport system. If all goes to plan, these modules could be deployed as early as 2025 in some major French cities.

This system involves setting up mobile landing stations in cities. These would be fairly light structures that are easy to move as needed, and positioned in strategic locations such as train stations, airports, business centers, etc.

The technology developed by Caps would ensure flights within a radius of 15 km at a maximum speed of about 70 km/h, at altitudes between 150 and 300 meters.

These fully electric capsules, equipped with eight motors, will only be able to accommodate one person at a time, without any pilot. However, Caps envisages that a professional will be able to take control of each capsule remotely in the event of a technical problem.

Plus, each aircraft will be equipped with a parachute for emergency use. Initial tests have already been successfully carried out in a field.

All the capsules in a city will be gathered together in a single, central location, where they will be constantly recharged. They will not remain in their stations when not in use. Users will be able to book flights via a mobile application. A Caps will then be placed in the nearest collection station, from where the user can take off and reach the station closest to their final destination, all in less than 15 minutes.

For the moment, the project is at prototype stage, but Caps CEO Paul Cassé now hopes to speed things up: “We have approached the people responsible for mobility in major French cities to understand their needs, and we have had 100% good feedback.”

As for safety, the CEO reassures potential users that “aeronautics has always been the world’s safest transport sector, so it will be safer to cross Paris by Caps than on foot”.

The first commercial operation is expected by 2025 or 2026. A model of the project went on display at the Viva Technology show in Paris, on Saturday, June 19. – AFP Relaxnews

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