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Volocopter unveils flying taxi to link suburbs to cities

The VoloConnect is fitted with a retractable landing gear. © Volocopter

This new electric adav for four passengers is designed for intercity flights of 100 km. It complements the VoloCity, a flying taxi designed for short-distance intra-urban journeys.

While it intends to launch its flying taxi service in Singapore in 2023, the German firm Volocopter has decided to expand its offer by adding a new device. The VoloConnect is an electric ADAV ( Vertical Takeoff and Landing Aircraft ) that is designed to interconnect cities and suburbs. It can carry up to four passengers for a maximum distance of 100 km.

Provided with retractable landing gear, the engine is powered by six rotors for vertical flight and two electric turbines for horizontal flight with a speed maximum cruising 250 km / h. A hybrid configuration retained by many designers of flying taxis combines the advantages of the helicopter for take-off and landing and the efficiency of the aircraft for flight.

The VoloConnect is fitted with a retractable landing gear.  © Volocopter
The VoloConnect is fitted with a retractable landing gear. © Volocopter

VoloConnect certification within five years

The VoloConnect should be equipped with an autonomous navigation system supervised on the ground via the VoloIQ platform. For the moment, Volocopter is making progress on finalizing the first full-size prototype after having validated its solutions on several scale models. The company expects to be able to achieve certification for the device within the next five years. It will extend the coverage area to the suburbs, in addition to the intra-urban service which will be provided by VoloCity. Equipped with 18 electric rotors, the latter will be able to carry two passengers over a maximum distance of 35 km while flying up to 110 km / h. These flying taxis will take off and land from VoloPorts, reception terminals installed on the roofs buildings in the city center.

In March, Volocopter raised new funds of 200 million euros to finance its development The company aims for certification of VoloCity by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) by the end of the next year.


Volocopter presents a terminal for its Volocity flying taxis

The German firm has unveiled a prototype reception terminal for its flying taxis which could be installed on the roofs of buildings in the city center.

Volcopter’s flying taxi project is progressing well. After unveiling the final version of its device equipped with 18 electric rotors which it hopes to be able to begin commercial operation in the next two to five years, the company has just presented a prototype terminal that will be used to manage passenger traffic…

Called VoloPort, it was designed on a modular basis in order to be able to adapt to the different urban locations where it could take place: roofs of buildings, stations, or car parks. The images show us a waiting lounge similar to the one found in airports right next to which a VoloCity, name given by Volocopter to its air taxi, awaits.

The VoloPort will be installed on the roofs of buildings in the heart of large city centers.  © Volocopter
The VoloPort will be installed on the roofs of buildings in the heart of large city centers. © Volocopter

A public test flight by the end of the year in Singapore

The VoloPort  “will be able to accommodate a wide range of electric air taxis, serving business travelers, tourists and all those who are tired of being stranded, sitting in traffic,  ” promises Volocopter. The latest version of the VoloCity can carry two people a maximum distance of 35 km while flying at 110 km / h.

A first prototype of the VoloPort will be installed in Singapore where Volocopter plans to carry out a public test flight during the fourth quarter. Of the three building blocks necessary for launching a flying taxi offer, Volocopter is only missing the one concerning the legislation governing such a service.

Volocopter unveils VoloCity, its first commercial autonomous flying taxi

The German company has been working since 2013 on its concept of a flying taxi equipped with 18 rotors. She unveils the final version of her device, which she hopes to be able to begin commercial use in the coming years.

The last time we saw Volocopter’s flying taxi was over a year ago at the  Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas 2018. The project is progressing well, it seems since the German firm has just completed unveil the commercial version of its device. This is the fourth iteration of the machine which, by the way, receives the name of VoloCity .

Volocopter says it has conducted 1,000 test flights with its development prototypes to optimize the design of the VoloCity, particularly in terms of the aerodynamics of the rotors and the flight stabilizer. As a result, the range went from 30 to 35 km and the maximum speed from 100 to 110 km / h. From an aesthetic point of view, the flying taxi retains the design of a helicopter cabin surmounted by a circular structure accommodating the 18 electric rotors. The VoloCity can take two people and their hand luggage.

10,000 test flights to develop the VoloCity flying taxi from VoloCopter.  © Volocopter
10,000 test flights to develop the VoloCity flying taxi from VoloCopter. © Volocopter

A test flight in public in Singapore at the end of the year

As we explained previously, Volocopter partnered with Intel who provided the adaptive flight controller and the redundant systems that ensure safety. The next step will be to obtain the necessary permits for commercial operation to develop a flying taxi service in urban areas. Volocopter will in particular work on the airport infrastructure of its service as well as on the integration of the devices into the air traffic control systems of cities. Collaboration is underway with the international airport of Frankfurt to go in this direction.

At the same time, Volocopter will continue to develop its flying taxi by relying on its prototypes. A public test flight is scheduled to take place in Singapore during the fourth quarter.

Volocopter will test its flying taxi in Singapore

The German firm Volcopter has just announced that it will conduct trials of its taxi drone in real conditions in Singapore next year.

Volocopter is one of the most advanced companies in the drone taxi project that promises to tear us away from the pangs of city traffic by taking us to the skies. After flying in the skies of  Dubai, a little over a year ago, he again caused a sensation at the Consumer Electronics Show 2018. It is in Singapore that his machine will be tested in real conditions.

Volocopter announces that tests will take place from the second half of 2019 in the city-state. “  These flight tests are designed to validate and verify the ability of Volocopter’s electric ADAV vehicles to operate in Singapore’s urban environment. They will lead to public demonstration flights  ”, we can read in the press release issued by the company.

Will the noise of drone taxis be bearable?

It is not known whether the demonstration flights in question will allow the public to board the Volocopters. Equipped with multiple redundant systems, this adav (vertical take-off and landing aircraft) is equipped with 18 electric rotors. Volocopter ensures that the engines are so silent that when the aircraft will fly at an altitude of 100 meters, it will not be heard above the urban hubbub. But, between the interval of take-off or landing and this altitude, it will undoubtedly be another story …

In addition to the apprehension of boarding an unmanned flying machine and the regulatory problems, the buzz of dozens of flying taxis chaining the rotations above our heads is one of the points that have not yet been resolved. While the electric car allows us to hope for a significant reduction in noise pollution generated by road traffic, it would be regrettable if another nuisance took its place …

Discover Volocopter’s flying taxi stand

German firm Volocopter provides a glimpse of what a flying taxi stand perched on top of a building might look like. In particular, we can see how passengers board and disembark and how the recharging and replacement of drone batteries are managed.

Several autonomous flying taxi projects have already demonstrated their technical viability. From Airbus to Uber via  Ehang,  Cora  (funded by Larry Page ), or Volocopter, we now have a pretty good idea of ​​how this type of aircraft could work to carry one or two passengers on short urban journeys. But where will these devices land? How will their rotations and recharging of their batteries be ensured? All this is still very vague …

Volocopter has decided to give us a good overview by publishing this simulation showing the operation of a station called Volo-Hub installed on the roof of a building. The concept resembles that of cable car cabins, with drone taxis landing on a landing pad before sliding down a conveyor belt inside a hangar. The passengers disembark, then the aircraft continues on its way to the service area where its battery pack is automatically exchanged by robots. He then leaves for a parking area, ready for a new journey. 

Volocopter’s Volo-Hub station concept. © Volocopter

100,000 people per hour

Thanks to this continuous rotation system, Volocopter says it can take off and land a drone taxi every 30 seconds. To complete these large-scale stations, the German company has also designed Volo-Ports. These would be small helipads installed near shops, hotels, large companies or train stations.

The idea is to create a complementary network between the Volo-Hubs and the Volo-Ports at the scale of a large metropolitan area in order to cover the main key points. “  When scaled up, flying won’t be significantly more expensive than taking a taxi, but it will be significantly faster,  ” said Alex Zosel, co-founder of Volocopter. The company believes that its first drone taxis will be operational within a decade, offering a transport capacity of 100,000 people per hour.

Volocopter: the drone taxi flies at CES

During the Intel conference of CES ( Consumer Electronics Show ) 2018, the German firm Volocopter gave a live demonstration of its flying taxi, part of the control systems of which are provided by the microprocessor giant.

After making its first public test flight in the skies of Dubai in September 2017 (see article below), the drone taxi Volocopter went to star in Las Vegas for the  Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The device, equipped with 18 electric rotors, was the highlight of Intel’s conference.

Installed in a giant cage and retained by safety ropes to prevent any risk of accident, the Volocopter rose to less than two meters from the ground to cover a very short distance without any passenger on board. Nothing very impressive to tell the truth, but the object of the demonstration was different. Indeed, it was to praise the involvement of Intel in the design of this machine. 

This footage, which takes place at the end of Intel’s CES ( Consumer Electronics Show ) conference, shows a very rapid flight of the Volocopter taxi drone. © Intel

ntel supplied its technology to the Volocopter

The processor manufacturer, which is also developing a hardware and software platform for drones, supplied its technology to the Volocopter. In this case, it is the adaptive flight controller and redundant systems that ensure safety. As one of Intel’s drone engineers explains in a video dedicated to the  Volocopter, the flight controller maintains stability, including analyzing errors in the magnetic field of the rotors under difficult conditions.

Several dozen processors constantly monitor the device’s environment and relay this information to the rotors in a few milliseconds. Volocopter also took advantage of CES to reveal that Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, had himself taken a seat in the drone taxi during a flight last month in Germany. Intel’s technological backing is obviously precious to give credibility to the project, which faces many competitors, especially at  Uber,  Airbus, or the Chinese  Ehang. Dubai hopes to be the first city to launch a drone taxi service within about five years.

Volocopter: the drone taxi flew in the sky of Dubai

Dubai hosted the first flight of the German drone taxi Volocopter. Equipped with 18 electric rotors, the aircraft can fly independently to carry two passengers on urban journeys. The first city in the United Arab Emirates plans to launch an unmanned flying taxi service within five years.

Dubai wants to be at the forefront in terms of transport. Hyperloop, flying taxis, autonomous cars, police robots: the city is multiplying ambitious projects and paying the price. A boon for companies involved in these areas. One of them, Volocopter, yesterday had the opportunity to make a first test flight of its drone taxi over the city of the United Arab Emirates. The demonstration took place in the presence of the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.

Unveiled in 2013, the Volocopter was designed by the eponymous German company which has just raised 25 million euros from the automotive group Daimler . Its helicopter cabin is surmounted by a circular structure accommodating 18 electric rotors; it can carry two people while flying at an average speed of 50 km / h for thirty minutes and peak at 100 km / h.

The Volocopter is equipped with many redundant systems

The machine, renamed  Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) by the Dubai authorities, will be equipped with a fully autonomous navigation system. The latter should enable it to make journeys as part of a transport service (with this, the city intends to provide a quarter of passenger traffic by 2030). For safety, the AAT is equipped with redundant systems, including a power supply made up of nine independent batteries and parachutes. The current prototype recharges in two hours, but the final version will be faster, says the Dubai communications service.

No passenger was present during this test flight which saw the aircraft take-off and fly at an altitude of 200 meters for five minutes. For the moment, the Volocopter is navigating using a GPS, but its designers intend to implement a more complete autonomous system to manage obstacles. The flying taxi service is expected to start in five years.

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Written by Shraddha Diwan

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