2017年05月25日

小型の飛ぶ「車」がもうじき現実になる。 ドイツの企業がテストを完了した。ウーバーが2020年までに試作車を約束した。

Small flying “cars” come a bit closer to reality
A German firm completes a test, and Uber promises a prototype by 2020
Apr 26th 2017

小型の飛ぶ「車」がもうじき現実になる。
ドイツの企業がテストを完了した。ウーバーが2020年までに試作車を約束した。



“YOU may smile, but it will come,” said Henry Ford in 1940, predicting the arrival of a machine that was part-automobile and part-aeroplane. For decades flying cars have obsessed technologists but eluded their mastery. Finally there is reason to believe. Several firms have offered hope that flying people in small pods for short trips might become a reality in the next decade. These are not cars, as most are not fit to drive on land, but rather small vehicles, which can rise and land vertically, like quiet helicopters. 

obsessed:取り憑かれている
eluded:人の手に入らない
mastery:熟練・支配
pods :宇宙船の小型船

A prototype of a small electric plane capable of flying up to 300 kilometres per hour, made by Lilium, a German startup, completed a successful test over Bavaria on April 20th. Lilium is starting work on a five-seat vehicle and hopes to offer a ride-hailing service. Another German firm, e-volo, has been testing a flying vehicle for several years. It recently showed off the second version of its electric Volocopter (pictured), which could be certified for flight as soon as next year. 

ride-hailing:配車

There are at least a dozen firms experimenting with making small flying vehicles in different guises, including Airbus, an aerospace giant, in partnership with Italdesign Giugiaro, a division of Volkswagen, a carmaker. Many plan to have a certified pilot in command at the beginning and then move on to an autonomous set-up when regulations allow. Motorcycle-type vehicles, which you sit astride, are also in the works. 

guises:外見
autonomous set-up:自動設定
astride:またがって

No matter which manufacturer is quickest to gain velocity, Uber, a ride-hailing firm, aims to be at the centre of things. On April 25th it held an event in Dallas to announce its plan to offer a service where people can hail an electric “vertical takeoff and landing” vehicle and ride it quickly to destinations that would otherwise take hours in heavy traffic. Uber does not want to build these aircraft or landing pads itself, just as it does not own its own cars. Instead, it plans to collaborate with other companies. But Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer, does not exclude the possibility that the firm may at the outset own some aircraft, which he estimates will cost around $1m each. 

velocity:速度
outset:最初に

The firm plans to have a prototype of its service ready by 2020. It will launch it first in Dallas and in Dubai, both cities where the authorities have deep aviation expertise and where people commute long distances. The firm rather optimistically promises that the cost per aerial mile for passengers will be roughly that of its low-cost car service, UberX. 

authorities:関係機関

There is plenty for manufacturers and services like Uber to overcome beyond gravity. For battery-powered models, range is limited and the charging rate remains slow. Manufacturers will need to ensure that vehicles can take off and land quietly, if this new form of transport is to stand a chance in cities. How to oversee and license the new aircraft, which are subject to much tougher rules than cars, will be a subject of intense debate among rule-makers, who tend to move slowly and are just getting to grips with drones. Drivers of flying vehicles are also likely to require a pilot’s licence, albeit perhaps a simplified “sports” licence. The journey ahead will be a long one. 

grips:真剣に取り組む

空飛ぶタクシーが2020年に出現する。ダラスとドバイからのようだ。料金はタクシーと同じに設定するようだ。一台が百万ドルだからそう高くはない。ただ、規制とか免許とか数多くの壁があるだろう。それが実現できれば、車の渋滞が解消できることになる。あと2,3年以内ということだ。

実現すれば東京でもビルの屋上に発着できるようになる。しかも距離を基準にしてタクシーと同じ料金で運べるのであれば、革命的だ。5人乗りだとすれば相当の需要が見込める。日本の場合には規制が多すぎて、当分は無理だろう。アメリカは実施しそうだ。

金曜日。そろそろ本の出版だ。ではまた明日。

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海野 恵一
1948年1月14日生

学歴:東京大学経済学部卒業

スウィングバイ株式会社
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アクセンチュア株式会社代表取締役(2001-2002)
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