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China set to lead the global charge in flying taxis

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Just how close are we to having flying taxis? In China, there is a rush of homegrown talent and international companies who recognize the value of China’s markets being ever-receptive to novelty. Despite the technical hurdles faced, the speed at which entrepreneurs are moving makes the timeframe for a viable service coming to Chinese cities a matter of years, not decades.

Over the last half-decade, China has come to dominate aerial technologies. The global drone success story speaks for itself, with companies such as DJI and Autel Robotics commanding dominant market shares and supplying the majority of flying products to both professionals and enthusiasts worldwide.

Likewise, China-based flying taxi companies, such as EHang, are advancing fast, carrying out multiple testflights with live passengers and employees, with promising results. The company even has its eyes set on expansion once the technology is established, with Japan as a potential market, and also a venture into the delivery sector, which could start as early as 2023.

China’s reputation as a fast adopter of disruptive technologies is a major incentive behind the growth of flying taxi research in the country. Reservations about getting in a new autonomous air vehicle and flying hundreds of meters in the sky may make less adventurous consumers elsewhere stick to their cars for a while. German company Volocopter has this year created a craft that can take off and land safely within controlled conditions, also with the aim of launching an air ride service in China. In a statement, Florian Reuter, the CEO of Volcopter, called China “the single biggest market opportunity for the urban air mobility industry”.

China has a history of taking up new technology quickly. Those invested in the future of affordable electric air mobility industries in China will certainly hope that they will follow the likes of smartphone cashless payments, and hail and ride (terrestrial) apps. Both leapfrogged more dated practices in other parts of the world, such as “chip and pin” payments in Europe and the United States, and were adopted with a huge level of success across China’s huge economically active population.

Regional authorities across China are gearing up to facilitate flying taxi services. Hunan, Anhui and Jiangxi provinces are all supporting the concept of low altitude aviation, investing heavily in airport construction, landing fields and tourism sectors, which will no doubt be boosted by the increase in transport efficiency.

The high expectations for what is coming put pressure on engineers to deliver designs that are practical for mainstream adoption. Noise levels are a major concern, as flying taxis will operate at a much lower altitude than traditional jet airplanes, which frequently cause residential disturbances at heights 10 or 20 times higher. The fact that these taxis are universally electric in design is a major bonus, offering low noise levels, meaning that they should be inaudible around 100 meters above street level.

Operating on exchangeable batteries also provides environmental benefits, making replacement of parts straightforward, saving on material resources and emissions. Many models are fueled by several different batteries at once, providing safety fail-safes, meaning that if one or indeed several rotors fail, the aircraft can still land safely.

China is leading the charge; however, the Netherlands, Qatar and New Zealand are also currently carrying out flying taxi trials. This cannot come soon enough. In cities around the world, ground transportation infrastructure is creaking, and each week, hours of productivity are wasted by commuters being stuck in congested, polluting traffic.

Over the next five years, these trials will morph into services open to the public, and as prices drop, accessibility will no doubt increase. Getting passengers to be comfortable with flying taxis in their cities and their autonomous pilot systems, however, will be a different task, that may take more time and proof of safe practice. If any market will welcome it first, though, it will be in China.

 

Barry He is a London-based columnist for China Daily.

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Maldives to experience rain nationwide on voting day

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Meteorological Center (MET Office) has reported Maldives will experience rainfall nationwide on Sunday, amid the parliamentary election.

MET Office on Saturday forecasts heavy rainfall accompanied with thunder from Laamu atoll to Addu atoll. The authority also forecasts rainfall from central parts to northern atolls as well.

The weather authority also reported that the winds speeds will be between 5 to 15 miles per hour nationwide.

Despite rainfall nationwide, the seas would not be rough to interrupt sea transportation, MET added.

With many already traveling to their home islands to cast vote in the parliamentary election, the government has already announced Monday, April 22nd will be a public holiday as well.

Source(s): sun.mv

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Middle East countries voice concern over military escalation after alleged Israeli attack on Iran

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Countries in the Middle East have voiced their concern over military escalation in the region after Israel on Friday allegedly struck sites near the city of Isfahan, central Iran, in what appeared to be its military response to Iran’s recent retaliatory attack.

In a statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry called on the two sides to exercise the utmost restraint and to fully comply with the rules of international law and the UN Charter, warning against widening the conflict and instability in the region.

Egypt stressed that it will continue to intensify communications with all concerned and influential parties to contain the ongoing escalation and tension.

In addition, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the ministry “is constantly monitoring the tension in the region,” expressing its deep concern about the attack targeting Isfahan on Friday morning.

The ministry said that the escalation must not distract attention from the destruction and loss of innocent lives in the Gaza Strip, renewing its call on the international community to perform its duties and work to stop the suffering of the Palestinian people, according to the statement.

Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi on Friday stressed the need to reduce the dangerous escalation in the region and reiterated that “Jordan will not allow it to be turned into an arena of conflict between Iran and Israel and to endanger its security and the safety of its citizens.”

Safadi, who also serves as the Jordanian foreign minister, added on social media platform X that “the current escalation only serves to divert attention away from the Israeli aggression on Gaza, stopping which must be the priority.”

The Israeli attack came after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confirmed Saturday that it had launched missile and drone attacks on Israel in retaliation for earlier airstrikes by Israel on April 1 on the Iranian consulate building in the Syrian capital of Damascus, which killed seven Iranians.

So far, Israel has not officially acknowledged the strikes on Isfahan, while Iran has not publicly accused Israel of carrying them out.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned the Israeli strikes on Syrian military sites earlier in the day as a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty and a threat to regional stability.

In a statement, the ministry warned that such actions could escalate tensions in the region, potentially leading to a broader conflict, and urged the international community, including the UN Security Council, to condemn the attack and take decisive measures to halt the “crimes” committed by Israel.

In the early hours of Friday, the Israeli military launched a series of airstrikes targeting Syrian air defense sites in the southern region, according to the Syrian Defense Ministry. The strikes caused material losses, while no casualties were reported, it added.

The attack was also confirmed by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reported that more than six Israeli aircraft were observed flying intensively in southern Syria.

The radar battalion responsible for monitoring the airspace, located in the east of Syria’s Daraa province, was targeted, the war monitor added.

Source(s): CGTN

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This is a golden opportunity to cooperate with a government: President

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President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu states this is a golden opportunity for a parliament that will cooperate with a government that wants to produce results.

Speaking at a meeting with Addu City constituents residing in Male’ City on Friday night, the President said his administration’s only focus is to produce results.

He described the upcoming parliament election as a golden opportunity for a parliament that will cooperate with a government that wants to produce results.

“My focus is on results, nothing else. It is results that the people want, is it not? The result of development and the result of stability, is that not what people have been wanting?” he questioned.

Speaking further, President Muizzu, underscoring the nation had not seen the desired number of changes in the past years, said his administration will not spend time on anything other than producing results.

“This is truly a golden opportunity. You are receiving a golden opportunity to pave the way for full cooperation necessary within the parliament to a government that is solely focused on producing results,” he said.

Citing the aforementioned reasons, he urged the public to vote for ruling PPM-PNC coalition’s candidates contesting in the parliamentary election slated for Sunday.

MDP has the largest number of candidates contesting this parliamentary election at 90 constituencies, followed by PPM-PNC coalition at 89 constituencies.

A total of 368 candidates are contesting for 93 constituencies.

Polling stations will be open from 8:00am to 5:30pm on Sunday; a decision made by the Elections Commission earlier today, which is undertaking final preparations for the election.

Source(s): sun.mv

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