Drone taxis could soon be flying in cities around the world: report
By Jim Magill
According to a recent report by Markets and Markets, drone taxis could soon be introduced in a city near you.
According to the Drone Taxi Market – Global Forecast to 2030 study, the global drone taxi market is expected to grow from an estimated US$74 million in 2025 to US$860 million by 2030, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of corresponds to 63%.
The 44-page report explored the potential growth of the market for drone taxis used to carry passengers in intra-city or inter-city transportation. “Drone taxis are designed to fly remotely or autonomously, avoiding obstacles and taking off, flying and landing with precision every time. Drone taxi propulsion can be all-electric or hybrid-electric,” the report says.
The North American market is predicted to have the fastest growth rate over the five year period covered by the study. The US is the leading country in this region with a projected CAGR of 104.3%. Researchers point to strategic partnerships between drone taxi and ridesharing manufacturers and solid investments in the business segment as drivers of growth in the North American drone taxi market.
“For example, Joby Aviation entered into a strategic partnership with Toyota and Uber in January 2020,” the study says. “Air taxis are likely to see increased urban transport demand in this region.”
Although the North American market is expected to grow fastest during the study’s five-year forecast period, Europe, currently the leading region in the drone taxi market, is expected to continue leading the market with a 46% share during this period.
The study cites some of the benefits of drone taxis, including reducing traffic congestion, sustainability, increased transport efficiency, and noise reduction.
Some of the prominent key players in the burgeoning market are: US-based Boeing and Joby Aviation; German companies, Lilium and Volocopter; Airbus from the Netherlands and Ehang from China.
Players in the market include drone taxi manufacturers, system part and sub-component manufacturers, air taxi operating companies, research organizations, forums, alliances and associations, original equipment manufacturers (OEMS), regulators, and research and development companies.
The researchers attributed the expected market growth to the recent technological developments in next-generation aircraft, as well as to the transportation challenges cities around the world are facing due to increasing road traffic. “The growth in disposable income coupled with the falling cost of cars for personal use has led to an increase in the number of cars, increasing environmental concerns,” the report said.
As a result of these environmental and congestion concerns, “cities are expected to adopt transportation systems using unmanned systems.”
In recent months, the global COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on drone taxi market growth, disrupting the industry’s supply chain and delaying the commercialization of the vehicles by about a year, researchers found.
“The spread of COVID-19 in the US and EU is expected to have a negative impact as drone taxi vehicle research and development facilities close,” the report said. “The Lockdown in Asia Pacific [region] has resulted in lost business for many emerging startups in the urban air mobility industry, including drone taxis.”
As a result of the pandemic, a number of start-up companies serving the drone taxi industry have had to cease operations due to development delays and capital losses.
Another major challenge for the drone taxi market is seen in the imposition of restrictions by aviation regulators around the world, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, Australia Civil Aviation Safety Authority and India’s Directorate-General for Civil Aviation.
These agencies are responsible for approving the commercial operation of electrically powered vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (VTOL) in their respective countries. The researchers predicted that the FAA in the US would begin certifying the operation of electric VTOLs, including drone taxis, after witnessing several hours of “safe and predictable real-world experimental operations.”
Based on end use, the researchers forecast that the scheduled operator segment of the drone taxi market will grow the fastest between 2025 and 2030. “This growth is attributed to congested cities and the need for faster transportation with defined itineraries to enable getting from one destination to another,” the study says.
However, the analysts anticipate that ride-sharing companies will account for the largest market share during the forecast period. They recognize the large number of air taxi operators and the expected increase in the adoption of ride-sharing taxis in the years after 2025.
Read more about Joby Aviation, air ride sharing and drone taxis in Korea and Japan.
Jim Magill is a Houston-based author with nearly a quarter-century of experience covering technical and economic developments in the oil and gas industry. After retiring as senior editor at S&P Global Platts in December 2019, Jim began writing about emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, robots and drones and how they contribute to our society. In addition to DroneLife, Jim is a Forbes.com contributor and his work has been featured in the Houston Chronicle, US News & World Report and Unmanned Systems, a publication of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.
Miriam McNabb is Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a marketplace for professional drone services, and is a fascinated observer of the burgeoning drone industry and drone regulatory environment. Miriam has authored over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam graduated from the University of Chicago and has over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for emerging technologies.
For advice or writing in the drone industry email Miriam.
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