Are flying taxis ready for lift-off?

For supporters, they are a solution to overcrowding. To critics, they are just toys of billionaires. So are they the answer to urban travel?

It is on Mars with food pills, jetpacks, robotic butlers, and colonies. Since at least 1962, when TV cartoon characters George, Jane, Alroy, and Judy Jetson first flew to the sky, flying cars have been a mainstay of speculative visions of the future. Designs for dozens of small, inexpensive, personal flying machines were unveiled in the late 20th century. Some became airborne and none took commercial flights.

Now, however, a form of a flying car is set to escape the clutches of eccentricity and the periphery of science fiction. The well-funded startup, supported by some major aviation and car companies, has made test flights of electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) aircraft. Piloted air taxi and shuttle services are expected before 2025. Uber says it expects to operate aircraft without pilots by 2030.

To make this affordable to the public, you need to take out the pilot. Will people fly in anything without a pilot?

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