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Moscow’s deputy mayor pours cold water on flying taxi plans

Maxim Liksutov doesn't believe flying taxis will be used extensively in such metropolises as Moscow

MOSCOW, August 8. /TASS/. Moscow’s deputy mayor Maxim Liksutov expressed skepticism on Tuesday over the idea of having flying taxis in Moscow in the near future.

"It is very good that such things are developed. But I don’t think at the moment that they will be used extensively in such metropolises as Moscow," he told reporters in reply to the question when first flying taxis could appear in Moscow.

Earlier, the head of the Moscow’s department for science, industrial policy and entrepreneurship, Alexei Fursin, said work is underway in Moscow to create flying taxis that will be used along with normal taxis. According to Fursin, the new taxis could be driverless and operated by a pilot.

The head of the Russian company ATM Freight Drones, Alexander Atamanov, for his part said the cost of a flying taxi ride would be the same as cost of a normal taxi ride, but passengers will be able to reach their point of destination much quicker.

The company currently tests unmanned aerial vehicles in a Moscow technology park. Atamanov said first flying taxis may appear in Moscow already next year if the project gets legislative backing.

"The theme is rather expansive since it features technical aspects, which we have managed to overcome, and legal aspects as well," Alexander Atamanov said earlier. "We have put forward an initiative to amend the current legislation so that personal drones can be used for transportation of cargoes and passengers. Moscow government’s position is positive but much depends on the federal authorities. So, if we manage to do it, Moscow will become one of the most innovative capital cities in the world. I think that the most positive scenario is one year."

There should be "a narrow echelon of 10-15 meters above the ground, flyovers, underpasses, rivers, and railways where transport goes," he said.

Flying taxis are "tested in fenced areas", in the Moscow and Skolkovo technology parks, he said.

No traffic jams

At first, flying taxis will be available for short distance trips. A special app should be downloaded on the mobile phone to call a flying taxi. High speeds and no traffic jams are main advantages of flying taxis, Atamanov said.

"Firstly, we are not going to have any traffic jams at all. We will not wait for traffic and there will be no traffic lights. Any transportation will be a dozen times quicker that by ground transport," he said. "Secondly, flying over Moscow at an altitude of five to ten meters is a more pleasant route."