Cassian Baliarsingh

If everything goes well, Air Taxi service may soon become a reality in Odisha offering the quickest ferrying service to passengers. Bumble Bee Flights, a Bengaluru-based start-up, is all set to manufacture air taxis and set up an assembly plant in Odisha. The air taxis can be used as air ambulance, logistics, recreational use or even defence applications.

The start-up founded by Arjun Das, a serial entrepreneur and Air Mobility Solutions Expert is known for designing and developing India’s first autonomous Air Mobility Solution capable of human transportation.

It has raised Rs 300 crore ($37 million) in investment from UK-based technology conglomerate SRAM & MRAM Technologies and Resources Limited and aims to launch the first prototype by April 2023 and will be available for production by 2024.

The start-up received the investment during the recently-concluded Make in Odisha Conclave 2022. This is also a step towards putting Odisha and India on the global air mobility solution map.

Interestingly, the air taxis will only weigh around 300 kg as compared to helicopters that weigh around 1000 kg or more. Furthermore, they would run on solar-charged swappable batteries.

The air taxis will have the capacity to carry only one person for now. With time, efforts will be made to add more space for more people. Moreover, the air taxis can land on the rooftop of apartments and buildings with adequate space.

However, they will not need specific helipads like helicopters. As of now, the air taxis can fly for 20 minutes for a distance of 20 kms. To make it easy for customers, the company has made booking an air taxi as easy as booking an Ola or Uber.

Speaking about the aim of his start-up, Arjun Das said, “eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircrafts are the future of urban mobility and transport. These autonomous air taxis would not only ease the already burdened urban road infrastructure but will also work towards reducing carbon footprints.”

“We are like the Boeing or Airbus for Air Mobility Solutions,” he added.

Bumble Bee Flights will design and manufacture air taxis while partnering with operators across the globe to service, support and run the operations. Meanwhile, the first step would be obtaining a certification aimed for US, UK, UAE, India and Singapore.

(With inputs from Agencies)