Aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce has unveiled a prototype system that could see flying taxis take to the skies by as early as 2020.

The group has drawn up designs for an electric vehicle take-off and landing system (EVTOL) vehicle, which it says could potentially travel at speeds of up to 250 mph and carry four to five people.

The technology is being showcased at the Farnborough International Airshow, which takes place between 16 to 22 July.

"Building on our existing expertise in electric technologies and aviation, Rolls-Royce is actively exploring a range of possible markets and applications for electric and hybrid electric flight," said Rob Watson, head of the company’s electrical team.

"We are well placed to play a leading role in the emerging world of personal air mobility and will also look to work in collaboration with a range of partners."

Rolls-Royce claims its flying vehicle design could be adapted for personal transport, public transport, logistics and military applications.