FLYING taxis that can travel between London and Brighton in just 30 minutes could be taking to the skies soon after the project won government backing.

The giant people-carrying drones could be seen zooming above the Downs at speeds of up to 150mph if the plan takes off.

At the moment, the journey takes about two hours by car or an hour by train - but the flying machines could cut down travel times massively.

Vertical Aerospace has become the first company in the UK to build and flight test the vertical take-off and landing, drone-style aircraft.

The Argus: The flying taxis could be tested in 2023The flying taxis could be tested in 2023

The project has taken a big step forward after being awarded partial funding of £2.5 million through the government’s future of flight challenge.

James Richmond, an expert on "advanced air mobility" said the new technology could be a reality by 2023.

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He said: "As we look to the future of travel, it’s now more important than ever that we begin exploring more sustainable methods of transport within our increasingly populated cities.

"Bringing together the experience and expertise from across the consortium, we’re excited to begin developing a fully integrated system concept, using the latest digital innovations.

"This an important and tangible step towards making advanced air mobility a reality, and by demonstrating that we can provide a case for air taxis, we could begin trialling these services as early as 2023."

The Argus: The company are developing a number of flying machines which could soon be seen in the skiesThe company are developing a number of flying machines which could soon be seen in the skies

Vertical Aerospace was founded in 2016 by Stephen Fitzpatrick, who is attempting to promote sustainability in transportation.

It is now a part of a consortium led by a company called Atkins and involving the West of England Combined Authority.

Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor, said the UK could become a world leader in "air taxis".