Rolls-Royce flying taxi plans take-off

Flying taxi

Bondholder Rolls-Royce has designed a propulsion system for a flying taxi which it says could take to the skies as soon as early next decade.

The British firm said it had drawn up plans for an "electric vertical take-off and landing" (EVTOL) vehicle, which could carry four to five people.

The vehicle could travel at speeds of up to 250 mph (402 km/h) for approximately 500 miles, it said.

Speaking ahead of this week's Farnborough Airshow, Rob Watson, head of the company's electrical team, said: "We are well placed to play a leading role in the emerging world of personal air mobility and will also look to work in collaboration with a range of partners."

Rolls said the initial concept for EVTOL used gas turbine technology to generate electricity to power six electric propulsors, specially designed to have a low noise profile.

Its wings would be able to rotate 90 degrees, enabling the vehicle to take off or land vertically. It could also use existing heliports and airports.

The Derby-based company has already announced a number of new deals at Farnborough including a new Trent XWB engine for China's Sichuan Airlines and Taiwanese STARLUX airlines. 

The Trent XWB, designed in Derby, is the world's most efficient large aero engine.