Qatar and other countries in the region can take the lead in creating a new air transport system connecting various destinations within a city, a renowned automobile designer told Gulf Times Monday.
“Qatar and other countries in the region should not repeat the mistake that the Western countries have made with the automotive. We have not made the best decisions and we have not made a future with the technology for a credible transport system. Countries such as Qatar- with possible investment- can create a new transport system,” said, Frank Stephenson, design director, Frank Stephenson Design.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 'Future Design Forum' organised by Geneva International Motor Show 2023 Qatar, Stephenson said that the next big step in mobility is not going to be much on the ground but on the air.
“That is one of the main areas which has a lot of space for innovation and new technology. It is a much efficient way of moving people in groups from one destination to another,” he noted.
According to the designer, such mobility is best suited for city traffic and will not fly outside the city. “They are electric flights within the cities and can reach distances in 30 to 45 minutes- maybe from airport to the city or from one part of the city to another. It will be the new way of travelling and will be super safe. It will be environmentally friendly and very economical as well as very fast. With high speed aircraft in low altitude and low noise, they can travel about 300km per hour,” he highlighted.
Stephenson said that these flights are already available and are being tested. “Now they need to be certified by the official agencies. Most companies are expected to get it done by 2024 and bring them into commercial service in 2025, “ he continued.
“In the beginning, it will be implemented in selected major cities and later expand to other cities. It is a brand new technology and people might be hesitant to use them in the beginning as they aren’t used to these types of travel in the sky. There are about 5 to 10 big companies working on this with their technology and expertise and their own interpretation of how it should work. They move straight – straight up and go and land down straight,” explained the design expert.
Stephenson also noted that future designing should synchronise with the nature and take environment into consideration. “Otherwise we are not designing for the future but fighting against future and fighting against nature. Artificial Intelligence is a major tool in designing and quite useful but it is not the main tool. The main idea has to come through human touch. Human creativity and curiosity cannot be replaced with such other tools,” he added.
Frank Stephenson speaking in Doha Monday. Seen in the background is an image of a model of an electric aircraft. PICTURE: Thajudheen.