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The world is far from any stagnation in innovation, but people are still only dreaming of a flying car. Efforts are on though, and India might be quite close to sending people through the air.

We have been claiming the skies with aircrafts for a century now. And not only do we want to claim the skies, but we also want to be electric while we do it. US based Archer Aviation has plans to make some 250 battery-electric air taxis in 2025, after aiming to get its aircraft certified by the end of 2024.

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This doesn’t mean aircrafts are falling behind. United Airlines has ordered 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 100 737 MAX airplanes, as it pushes for post-pandemic growth, replacing older less-efficient aircraft. The order has list prices of about $43 billion. Some aircrafts even want to go electric. Air New Zealand wants to buy 23 electric planes.

But this isn’t the same as walking out of the house and sitting in a four-seater, which takes you to office by flying over, literally (and I don’t mean using flyovers).

A flying car today can be called a UAM or Urban Air Mobility. The initialism does give hope that innovators of today are taking this seriously. Urban Air Mobility (UAM) envisions the integration of aerial transportation services into urban transportation systems, providing efficient and swift mobility solutions.

UAM services, including electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft, have the potential to alleviate congestion, reduce travel times, and enhance transportation connectivity within cities. Various global and Indian companies, such as Jaunt Air Mobility, The ePlane company, L&T Technology Services, and Aerpace, are actively involved in developing eVTOL aircraft and entering the UAM services market.

According to BIS Research, a market intelligence and advisory firm specializing in deep and emerging technologies, the India UAM infrastructure market is projected to reach $6.2 million by 2033, at a CAGR of 22.38%.

The complexities of urban congestion and transportation infrastructure in India has propelled a new era of possibilities with Urban Air Mobility (UAM) services at its epicenter, powered by the country’s dynamic startup ecosystem

Faisal Ahmad, Co-Founder & CEO of BIS Research

Faisal Ahmad, Co-Founder & CEO of BIS Research, said, “The complexities of urban congestion and transportation infrastructure in India has propelled a new era of possibilities with Urban Air Mobility (UAM) services at its epicenter, powered by the country’s dynamic startup ecosystem. Embracing a forward-looking vision, these innovative enterprises are propelling the potential of eVTOL aircraft, charting the course for the UAM infrastructure market, and carving a path towards a reimagined mobility landscape for the nation.”

The report, UAM Infrastructure Market- A Global and Regional Analysis, indicates that the Indian market, particularly in passenger and cargo gate-to-gate operations, is projected to experience steady growth from 2023 to 2033. The CAGR for passenger gate-to-gate operations is estimated at 26.83% ($3.1 million), cargo gate-to-gate operations are expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.55% ($2.5 million), and hybrid passenger and cargo gate-to-gate operations will touch 29.81% ($0.6 million) by 2033. 

Immense Potential for Growth

While the UAM market in India is currently in its nascent stage, it holds immense potential for growth. Plans for launching air taxi operations in India are set to take flight as early as 2025, with the establishment of an eVTOL manufacturing plant. Both Tata and Uber have expressed interest in the Indian UAM infrastructure market, and the government is proactively exploring policies and regulations to support UAM developments in the country.

The report also states that the vertistops and vertiports segment is valued at $0.4 million in 2023, and this number is expected to reach $1.0 million by 2033. Other infrastructure segments like charging and refueling stations, MRO facility, and docking stations and hub spots, currently valued at $0.2 million, $0.1 million, and $0.1 million (2023) is expected to reach $0.4 million, $0.2 million, $0.3 million respectively (by 2033), registering a CAGR of around 9.37% during the forecast period.

The cities of Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad have been identified by the report as potential hubs for the initial developments of UAM infrastructure in India leveraging their dynamic urban landscapes and progressive mindset towards innovative mobility solutions.

Challenges Remain

However, constraints with respect to the efficient management of airspace, establishing robust air traffic management systems, and integrating UAM vehicles into existing airspace pose critical challenges for the sector. Investment in the development of vertiports, charging infrastructure, and maintenance facilities is imperative to support the growth of UAM operations.

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We can view the enthusiasm of innovators with scepticism. Where is the infrastructure? What about safety regulations? But we also know that every invention that we use today was once viewed that way. Initial steps are small, but an ecosystem of flying cars could soon become a reality.


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