Nairobi has been identified as one of the launch cities for an ambitious flying cars plan. The McFly.aero blockchain project is starting the set up of infrastructure for air taxis service in 23 cities in 13 countries, including Nairobi.
It is a two-part business incubator, the first spanning a technological consortium of 12 companies that is developing the elements of the city air taxis, across the flying cars with Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOLs), energy and traffic management infrastructure.
The second part involves building local communities called McFly Chapters, aiming at community engagement that gets people to share information on the project, getting industry experts to share research and entrepreneurs to establish local connections with manufacturers, with real estate partners for landing pads, and even with government bodies for registration.
It is expected the project will open a new business for entrepreneurs, engineering and drone experts, and manufacturers of hardware and software for the blockchain-powered IOT for the urban air taxi infrastructure.
Unlike helicopters, the cars will be efficient in fuel use, noise and safety, said Bezhko.
He said the initial production cost will be $120,000 (Sh12m) per vehicle but will come down to $30,000 (Sh3m) to $40,000 (Sh4m) once they go into mass production.
As far as fares go, the rides have an indicative price of $8 (Sh800) per minute, but pricing will be based on the grid’s load, and transactions will be made in McFly tokens on the blockchain
McFly’s lead community manager Nikolay Bezhko said that VTOLs will be driven by auto-pilot to improve safety.
“The VTOL autonomy will be implemented over time as users and regulators become more comfortable with the technology and see statistical proof that autonomy provides greater levels of safety than human pilots,” he said.
The idea is that passengers will be picked up at the nearest helipad or heliport to their pick-up point and dropped at the nearest pad to their destination, and will take a 5-10-minute walk at either end.