COVID-19 Impact on Drone Taxi in Semiconductors and Electronics Industry
The spread of COVID-19 has entirely changed people’s life. COVID-19 originated in the city of Wuhan, China, in 2019 and has been continuously spreading all over the world since then. It has been spread to more than 180 countries. The U.S. tops the list, followed by India, Brazil, U.K., and others. As of 16 August 2021 WHO reported 226.24 million positive cases worldwide of which 4.65 million patient has lost their life to the virus. On a positive note, 204.59 million patients have recovered, and 5.63 billion doses have been administrated globally. The pandemic has put the lockdown, travel ban, and business shutdown in most countries, highly impacting the global economy. Due to the pandemic, major industries faced serious disruption such as a break in the supply chain, shut down offices and manufacturing units, and many more.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented on a global level. It has greatly affected the aviation industry. The drone taxi market is still in its formative stages; hence, it relies on a shared flight model to make the economics work. After COVID-19, the drone taxi industry has experienced an impressive growth trajectory. Due to the increase in road traffic, the demand for drone taxis has risen tremendously.
STRATEGIC DECISION BY MANUFACTURERS AND GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES AFTER COVID-19
Post-COVID manufacturers are taking many strategic decisions to get back their original business place in the market. The companies are conducting many research and development activities to improve the technology involved in drone taxis. Thus, the companies are bringing more advanced technology to increase their market share and being recognized by the clients.
· In July 2021, according to INDIA TODAY, Airbus announced the launch of its new urban mobility copter. The new copter can carry 2,310 kg, the highest take-off weight of a fully electric VTOL aircraft with a distributed drive system. The electric aircraft is 4-seater which the helicopter division of Airbus manufactures. Thus the company has successfully brought forward a flying taxi for the customers
· Tecnalia, a Spanish company as launched its first Spanish uncrewed air taxi. The air taxi can carry up to 150 kilograms and travel in approximately 15 minutes urban distances of up to 15 km at around 90 km/h alternating between 100 and 300 meters. The vehicle consists of an aerodynamic cabin of 1.8 by 2 meters with a door and window and four drones placed in the upper and lower part of the ship. Thus the company has come up with the new air taxi which can provide customers with similar experience to that of a car or a bus
By looking into the rising demand for drone taxis, the government is also taking different initiatives to boost the market's growth.
· In December 2020, according to Intelligent Transport, The General Office of the State Council of China issued a circular to develop urban air mobility (UAM). The letter urges the development of policies and standards which will regulate the industry and encourage progress. The State Council’s circular also highlighted the potential application of firefighting UAVs. Thus the government is supporting in innovation and applications of our UAM technologies, specifically for aerial firefighting
IMPACT ON DEMAND
The technological developments hold a promising future for the drone taxi market whereby cities are expected to adopt next-generation transportation systems using automatic systems. Cities worldwide face transportation challenges due to the increasing road traffic, which causes major problems for mass transportation. Thus due to the increase in road traffic problems, the demand for drone taxis is increasing in the market. Also, the urban air mobility program has raised the demand for drone taxis. Many companies are developing a drone taxi and transportation hub for urban and sub-urban areas to solve this problem.
· In December 2020, according to Simple Flying, Boeing, a leading company to develop electric air taxis, came up with its flying taxi. The company has developed an autonomous, multi-rotor passenger air vehicle (PAV) in the Boeing NeXt urban air mobility program. PAV is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft designed to lead the next generation of on-demand mobility. Thus the company has brought electric air taxis which is safe and reliable for their customers
· In November 2020, German aviation start-up Lilium announced the launch of the first U.S. transportation hub for their flying taxis. The companies’ vision is to roll out a network of air taxis in various cities, with an app to hail the vehicles similarly to Uber. Their electric Lilium Jet is five-seater and speeds up to 300 kilometers per hour or 186 miles per hour. Thus the company will expand the flying taxi market in the U.S.
IMPACT ON SUPPLY CHAIN
Although the demand for the market has increased tremendously after the corona period, it has hampered the market's supply chain. Many electronic components like microcontrollers, chips, sensors, and others are needed to produce a drone taxi. In the lockdown, these electronic component manufacturing companies were shut, leading to the material shortage. This shortage has hampered the growth of the market.
Most of the electronic component manufacturing companies are from the Asia-Pacific region. Still, due to the corona outbreak, these companies were shut down, leading to a shortage of raw materials. Also, the restriction on transportation hampers the growth of the market.
Post-COVID, the demand for aviation transportation has tremendously increased, leading to the growth of the market. An increase in the population has led to an increase in traffic on roads, so the demand for drone taxis is increasing to save time on road traffic. The programs live urban air mobility has also raised the demand for drone taxis. Also due to the advancement in technology the customers can have safe and reliable travel in less time than the road transport has risen its demand in the market.
· Also, Uber announced their aerial ridesharing service for consumers. They said that initially, uberAIR would cost $5.73 per passenger mile, which will get the cost down to $1.86 per passenger mile before ideally getting to $0.44 per passenger mile. Thus at some point, it will be cheaper to use uberAIR
Thus we can observe that the demand for drone taxis is increasing, and manufacturing companies and governments are making different decisions to expand the market.