The world’s nations have taken developmental strides a notch in ways that have gone beyond our usual pedestrian laid back “transfer technology” mantra of Africa’s sociopolitical class. While lots of African nations and leaders are presently assembled in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia lying through their teeth on ways to extract more funding commitments from the developed countries by presenting phantom development narratives that are absolutely nonexistent, the developed world has left African countries far behind in developing strategies to make life much more bearable and conducive to their citizens. Two decades into the 21st century and the science fiction dreams of the creators of The Jetsons are closer than ever to becoming a reality. With the likes of UBER and BOEING developing eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) flying taxis, it’s a definitive surety that by 2040, there will be about 430,000 such vehicles in operation around the world. This comes as delivery drones are also being increasingly developed and tested with the global market for these tipped to be worth about $5.6bn by 2028. One can only begin to estimate the unprecedented job opportunities coming from this innovation alone.
African countries are miserably lagging behind in developing strategies for agricultural bumper harvests in any given period because we hardly get our priorities right. Most simple things like toothpicks are imported from foreign lands. There’s hardly investments in other agricultural equipment to send the teeming jobless youths and women to subsistence farming opportunity. Incidentally, these are the 2 most vital demographics that need these nonexistent job opportunities because of their implosion tendencies during a crisis. Listen to Buhari’s sermon on the mount in Riyadh on Tuesday in an attempt to hoodwink his hapless and gullible Mumu audience: “Nigeria’s population today exceeds 200 million people. Some 70% are under 35 years old. When we came into government in 2015, we’re quick to realize long-term peace and stability of our country is dependent on having inclusive and humane policies” Really Mr. President? Which definitive policies are you referring to now? He further added: “We introduced policies that supported investments in Agriculture and food processing. We provided loans and technical support to smallholder farmers through the Anchor Borrowers Program”. Maybe we should enquire about the present unemployment rate in Nigeria. Or can we also ask Mr. President the success rate of his policies in dealing with kidnappings and banditry in Nigeria? Or put it mildly, is the country safer now than in 2015?
While our president is acting Prince Charming to his Riyadh audience and other African countries are neck-deep into coup de’tats and killing sprees, to handle the demands of a future in the Flying Taxi module, in which drones and flying taxis (think large, multi-propeller the drones) share airspace over busy conurbations, proponents of this unique technologies are already ahead of the competition in planning how to build lots of mini-airports dubbed skyports. They reckon that these mini airports will be needed to enable air taxis at the exact spots where the passengers want to go. Prospective companies keen on these unique ventures are in the forefront of strategic mappings, having carried out more than 1,000 test flights of its eVTOL crafts. The companies are already processing their approval documentation from the US regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin commercial operations in 2024. These air taxis can carry four passengers, travel at up to 200 mph (322 km/pH), and has a range of more than 150 miles (241km). These crazy and strategic investors envisage offering their aerial ride-sharing service from locations near to where people live, work and want to go. They’re also working closely with cities to ensure their services connect to other modes of transit, co-locating skyports with train stations, airports, and other hubs.
However, whether and when these investors reach a point reminiscent of the unique project will depend on how the industry handles a number of key hurdles. These will include public acceptance, high-volume manufacturing, digital, power, and physical infrastructure investment, and the development of a highly-automated air traffic management system.
The main challenges here are regulatory hurdles and air traffic control systems. I can actually envisage the extreme human factor challenges in the regulation of air traffic routes and multiply by a million. It’s likely to start by establishing standard drones or air taxi routes. Rules will be set, kinks worked out, and standards applied universally to minimize incidents. From my investigations in the US from regulatory authority sources, the biggest barrier is that Flying taxis are yet to be given the authorization to fly commercially by the relevant authorities such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US or the UK’S Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). I also understand that these hugely rich companies from both sides of the Atlantic are ready to deal with these treating issues.