The light two-seater aircraft which is pretty much a super powerful drone, was developed by the Germany company Volocopter and can fly for 30 minutes at a maximum speed of 62mph
The company aims to integrate air taxis into existing transportation systems providing additional mobility for up to 10.000 passengers per day. Safety features include emergency parachutes and nine independent battery systems.
The Volocopter can fly completely autonomously or be easily operated using a joystick and assistive systems for support. It has no combustion engine, it uses no fuel and it is 100% electric providing an emission free solution for cities. Fuel is replaced by electricity and requirements for maintenance, repair and overhaul are reduced to a minimum through the avoidance of complex mechanical components.
The concept is to allow passengers to program their destination prior to departure and the hover taxi will pick them up at the pre-agreed location, no pilot or driver required. Take-off on demand using a smartphone and app, passengers can summon the Volocopter to their nearest hub when required.
The aircraft is exceptionally quiet because all 18 rotors acoustically operate within a narrow frequency band, they appear to the human ear to be only twice as loud as one single rotor. In contrast, a helicopter is numerous times louder with its main and tail rotors as well as its turbine.
Dubai was the first city to show interest aiming to launch hovering taxis in 2018, a number of test flights were successfully completed and other companies are developing similar concepts accommodating between 1 and 4 people.
Authorities anticipate another 3 to 4 years of testing to guarantee there are safety procedures and legislation in place. The technology is there but legislation must be stronger.
What city will be the first? The race is on.
To learn more about Volocopter visit: www.volocopter.com