On Wednesday, German aircraft manufacturer Volocopter has revealed the design of its flying taxi named VoloCity, which company hopes will become the world’s first on-demand air taxi service.
VoloCity is the company’s fourth-generation electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) air taxi. Also, the aircraft is the first that meets EASA’s new Special Condition for VTOL (SC-VTOL) airworthiness regulations, the company says.
The sleek black-and-white VoloCity is designed to carry two passengers, including light luggage like backpacks, briefcases or purses. The battery-powered air taxi can fly at a top speed of 110km/h (68mph), with a range of around 35km (about 22 miles). Not seem so far, but the range should be enough considering that Volocopter’s goal is for the aircraft to carry people around the city.
This wild-looking aircraft features a massive 18 rotors with aerodynamically shaped rotor beams, and a newly introduced stabilizer to create increased stability during flight and greater lifting capacity. The 2.3-m-diameter rotors are powered by nine lithium-ion battery packs housed in a removable rear fuselage. These swappable batteries can be changed in five minutes between flights.
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Overall takeoff weight of the plane is 900 kg (1,985 lb.), including a 200-kg payload. Over 1,000 test flights that were conducted on earlier models which helped Volocopter to redesign an air taxi with improved efficiency and range.
“With the VoloCity we will open the first commercial routes and bring Urban Air Mobility to life,” Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter said in a press release.
Now, the company is working on building take-off and landing infrastructure and integrating into air traffic management systems of interested cities. It is targeting a first public test flight of its production eVTOL in the fourth quarter of this year with the current 2X pre-series model, in Singapore, alongside the first demonstration of its VoloPort Urban Air Mobility infrastructure prototype.