Khanykov told FINN: “We will have the four-seater and two-seater vehicle: electric, powered by lithium or hydrogen, taking off vertically and flying at a speed of 300 kilometres per hour.
“We expect that in a city, within five to ten years, we will have hundreds of landing pads and you will be able to order a vehicle, just like you would order your conventional taxi, via a mobile app and then you will have a three-minute walk to the nearest pick-up point, embark on the vehicle and you will be able to cross almost any city in less than 10 to 15 minutes."
Collaboration vs competition
Bartini is part of the McFly Air Mobility Alliance, a consortium for the urban air mobility ecosystem. How does collaboration work in a fiercely competitive space?
Khanykov: “The point we where we are now, what is important is that we get to as many landing pads and as much infrastructure in cities as possible and that should be a joint effort. Roads should not be for Toyota or Honda; roads are for cars, so the infrastructure, we believe, must be vehicle-agnostic. At the same time, infrastructure requires a lot of different technologies and products being put together. Compatibility is required, market entry is required, certification will be required in every geography and this is definitely a joint effort.”
On the autonomous vs piloted debated, Khanykov said: “At the moment, no regulation in the world allows a passenger on a pilotless vehicle. The start will be with a pilot who takes responsibility for the flight. However, the scaling of that system and once we get the experience of the flight and once the artificial intelligence systems are educated, the flight will become autonomous. We see that as the path moving forward.”