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Bosch Angles for Flying Car Sensor Market

Marcus Parentis
Leader of Corporate Start-up bei Robert Bosch GmbH
Marcus Parentis Leader of Corporate Start-up bei Robert Bosch GmbH

Robert Bosch GmbH, a German-based multinational company, sees its microelectromechanical system (MEMS) sensors playing a key role in the flying car industry.

The auto industry uses Bosch MEMS sensors in automated driving and anti-skid systems. Bosch will adapt its mass-produced solutions for use in air taxis. For example, its sensing and motion-processing tools would help pinpoint air taxi position at all times.

For instance, sensors could determine a flying car’s yaw (angle of attack). It was the misinterpretation of this type of data by software that is believed to have led to two recent Boeing 737 Max crashes.

Bosch’s Universal Air Taxi Solution

Based on a report by German consultancy Roland Berger, Bosch expects the first air taxis by 2023. Boston Consulting Group predicts 1 billion air taxi rides by 2030. Morgan Stanley suggests a $US 1.5 trillion market by 2040. By 2050, 100,000 flying taxis will be used globally, reports Roland Berger.

“Bosch plans to play a leading role in shaping this future market,” says Bosch Automotive Electronics Division President Harald Kröger.

The company aims “to make civil aviation with flying taxis affordable for a wide range of providers,” says Bosch Senior Manager of Urban Air Mobility Marcus Parentis.

Today’s avionics technology is seen as too heavy and costly for air taxis. To fix this problem, Bosch engineers developed a universal control unit for flying cars. Flying taxi makers could install the small, lightweight Bosch sensor box using the plug-and-play principle.

The unit’s sensors measure aircraft movements, angle of attack, compass heading, altitude, and speed.

Global Air Taxi Test Flights

Dubai, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Singapore plan air taxi test flights in 2020. Bosch is working with German authorities to speed travel over short and medium distances in the Ruhr Valley.

“Compared to today’s means of transportation, flying taxis save time on trips of 10 kilometers or more, with a maximum range of up to 300 kilometers,” Parentis says.

Bosch expects air taxis will sell for about €500,000 each. This cost is well below today’s conventional helicopter solutions.

Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke is a California-based writer who is fascinated by the way technology changes our lives.