The Korben is a flying taxi concept with four electric thrusters and an intelligent control mechanism that makes flying as easy as driving a car. It could carry four passengers in major cities like pictured, in Montreal.
This fall, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) approached me to create a book and a video giving an overview of upcoming technologies in the field of aviation. So I asked one of our collaborators, Adolfo Esquivel, to design a flying version of Montreal’s Téo Taxi service.
The concept named ‘Korben’ was inspired by a character Bruce Willis played in the Fifth Element. He played Korben Dallas a retired special force major who drives … a flying cab!
How It Works
Aircraft have traditionally, with few exceptions, relied upon a single centre of gravity for guidance. This, demands great skill and extensive training for any new pilot. With a harmonized, rapidly actuating, gimbaled variable thrust set to the four corners of an aircraft, a good level of control can be achieved and a new type of flight experience can be developed for small aerial vehicles like the Korben
By isolating the pitch and roll moments required to maneuver at the gimbals, the aircraft and its occupants would no longer be subjected to these effects, thereby reducing the act of piloting to simply driving.What this means is that the Korben will remain substantially horizontal while a novice pilot is maneuvering it. In other words, no more pitching and rolling to turn. The flying car would fly flat, and you would be able to drive it a bit like a car in two-dimensional flight.
Obviously it would be possible to fully automate the Korben. However, in my opinion, it would be preferable during the first years for a driver with adequate training to be on board the aircraft to assist the passengers. When users are more accustomed, the Korben could perform these flights independently.
The potential market
By reducing the complexity of flying controls to an accessible level and combining advances in the design of materials and mechanical components, a whole new market can develop for such aerial vehicle The Korben would certainly face competition, but its ease of use and steerable thrusters would give it a clear advantage for buyers who want to pilot their own aircraft.
Companies like Téo Taxi will be able to acquire this type of aircraft when it is certified and reliable. One of the important steps is therefore to make legislators aware of this upcoming form of transport so they can prepare regulations for this industry, which is taking shape quickly.
I would like to thank Gary Daprato who contributed to mechanical aspect of this aircraft. I would like to thank Adolfo Esquivel, who generated the renderings of the Korben concept. Adolfo earned a degree in Industrial Design in Colombia and completed his postgraduate studies in Event Design at UQAM (Montreal). Adolfo also created the images of the Aquafun three-season watercraft and dozens of other concepts for Imaginactive.