Could you imagine flying in a fully autonomous air taxi? A practically silent two man drone gliding over the pulsating city and picking you up on the roof of your house? What sounds like a dream of the future has been Volocopter’s every day reality and business since 2011. The company from southern Germany develops fully electric multicopters and with it, creates a new dimension of autonomous mobility.

FLYING FIRST CLASS –
OFF TO THE SUPERMARKET IN AN AIR TAXI

Category: Innovation     Text: Nina Brehl
  • „Fliegen für Jedermann”, das ist das Ziel von Volocopter – und zwar bequem und sicher.
Could you imagine flying in a fully autonomous air taxi? A practically silent two man drone gliding over the pulsating city and picking you up on the roof of your house?
What sounds like a dream of the future has been Volocopter’s every day reality and business since 2011. The company from southern Germany develops fully electric multicopters and with it, creates a new dimension of autonomous mobility.
“Flying for everyone,” and doing so comfortably and safely, is Volocopter’s mission. In 2011, the first manned flight of the all electric prototype still looked somewhat wobbly. But it went through further modifications, planning, and testing, and was met with great success. This young company is making big strides to conquer the airspace industry. Their latest model is the Volocopter 2X, a purely electrical powered, 18-engine multicopter, which is intended to fly people in cities from A to B like an air taxi. The exciting part? Even if several engines were to fail, the airship will still land softly and precisely. This is one reason why the Bruchsal based company received traffic approval as an ultra-light aircraft for the ‘small vertical take-off plane’ category as early as 2016.
WILL FLY FOR A SHORT SHOPPING SPREE
With its safe, silent, and emission free aircraft, Volocopter has become the market leader and an inspiration for people all over the world. Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA), with whose support the drone was publicly tested for the first time in Dubai in September 2017, is particularly interested. For the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, the eight minute flight heralded a new chapter in urban mobility. The metropolis has set the goal of becoming the smartest city in the world and plans to handle a quarter of public transport autonomously by 2030.
Volocopter will also provide solutions for the required infrastructure; a concept consisting of Volo ports and Volo hubs will enable an area wide air taxi network. Protected from wind and weather, passengers can board and descend/deplane at the Volo hubs. At the same time, the city airports provide enough space for automatic battery changes and parking spaces. The Volo ports are somewhat smaller but more flexible. They can be integrated directly into buildings such as hotels, shopping centres, and office complexes and do not require a charging station or parking space.
  • Mit den sicheren, lautlosen und emissionsfreien Fluggeräten, ist Volocopter marktführend und konnte Menschen auf der ganzen Welt begeistern.
SAFELY CRUISING THROUGH THE AIR?
However, certain factors (such as potential security gaps in radio communications or the danger of storms and thunderstorms) still need to be clarified. The noise level is also purely speculative so far. Although electric multicopters make less noise than a classic helicopter, they are probably not exactly quiet. This is of importance, especially if they are to play a relevant role in urban transport. If the multicopters are too loud, that could mean thousands of people would be buzzing around and potentially sound like a swarm of bees.
Whether urban traffic will prevail still remains to be seen but it’s exciting nonetheless. In any case, co founder Alex Zosel assumes that the system of ports and hubs will be a reality in 10 years time and that 100,000 passengers will reach their destination every hour. And the chances are good; the company has already received funding from established technology investors to the tune of 25 million euros in 2017. In October, Volocopter also announced that the flying two seaters will undergo testing in Singapore next year.

So we can still expect a lot from this visionary project and perhaps we’ll all be flying simply and easily to bread and butter in the near future.

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