EXCLUSIVE: eVTOL ‘flying car’ demos under discussion for ITS World Congress 2020

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ITS America President and CEO Shailen Bhatt is already looking forward to the ITS World Congress in Los Angeles in 2020 and has revealed that he is hoping plans to demonstrate what some are calling ‘flying cars’ – more correctly known as electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) – will come to fruition.

Companies such as Volocopter (whose prototype vehicle is pictured above in an artist’s impression of how it might look over New York City) are already in the advanced stages of testing, and Bhatt predicts that such vehicles could even be in public use by the time the Olympic Games arrives in LA in 2028.

These vehicles may look more like small helicopters than the ‘flying cars’ that have long been the dream of transportation futurists, but the way they will be used will be a genuine alternative automobiles – providing personal, short distance transportation in urban environments, which could help relieve congestion at ground level.

“The theme of the ITS World Congress 2020 in Los Angeles will be The New Age of Mobility,” Bhatt (left) told Traffic Technology Today during a drinks reception held to promote the event, at the ITS America Annual Meeting in Washington DC this week (ends June 7). “The ‘I’ in ITS is becoming so much more intelligent. Previously, it referred to traffic signals or highways. Now, it represents big data, smart highways, cyber security – and so much more. One of the things we’re hoping to demo in LA is vertical take-off and landing. Hopefully in 2028, in LA, that’s how people will be getting back and forth to the Olympic venues.”

Also at the event representatives from ITS Singapore shared insights into the upcoming ITS World Congress, which is taking place in the island city state in October 2019. “We have chosen the theme: Smart Mobility, Empowering Cities,” said Dr Chin Kian Keong (below), co-chairman, working committee and chairman of the technical program sub-committee, at ITS Singapore. “Essentially, we have four main topics be explored. The most popular one is automated vehicles and I think there will be many speakers on this subject. There will also be lots of demonstrations for technologies in this area. Another popular topic is mobility-on-demand; ride sharing, and how we can encourage that.”

Singapore has been very open about allowing companies to test their products on their grounds. “There are already a lot of companies present in Singapore,” says Keong. “So the World Congress will present a great opportunity for them to showcase their findings.”

Late last year Volocopter announced plans to test its vehicles in Singapore in the ‘second half of 2019’. So, while no official word has been given on any partnership with the ITS World Congress, attendees would be well advised to watch the skies! Below is an image of how a Volocopter might look over Singapore.

 

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Rachelle joined Traffic Technology International in early 2016 after having worked for an HR magazine and prior to that, as a freelance sub editor for various lifestyle consumer magazines. As deputy editor, she supports the editor in making each issue and updating the website. Outside of work, she enjoys tap dancing, playing the piano and video games, and eating spicy food.

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