Category: volocopter

Dubai Says They Successfully Tested the First Autonomous Flying Taxi

Dubai is looking to stand out as a high-tech hub in its region. A test flight of what is said to be the world’s first drone taxi service was conducted in the United Arab Emirates city on Monday. An unmanned craft, developed by German drone maker Volocopter, was successfully tested in a ceremony put on for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.

Image credit: Volocopter
Image credit: Volocopter

The Volocopter vehicle is a two-seat, eighteen-rotor vehicle, which takes off and lands vertically. The vehicle is meant to fly autonomously for up to 30 minutes, making it ideal for short-distance urban travel. The goal of the project is to grow into an Uber-like platform where users can pull out their phones and order a ride at the nearest “voloport.” The vehicle is equipped with a number of fail-safes in the event of something going wrong. Items like extra batteries, rotors, and parachutes ensure passenger safety.

In a press release from the government of Dubai’s media office, HH Sheikh Hamdan said, “This is another testament to our commitment to driving positive change. We are constantly exploring opportunities to serve the community and advance the prosperity and happiness of society.”

Flying vehicles have recently made a resurgence as a viable means of transportation in the future. Some truly big names like Larry Page’s (of Google fame) Kitty Hawk, and Uber’s own flying taxi plans are in the running to develop the first flying car options.

 

Disclaimer: The Dubai Future Foundation works in collaboration with Futurism and is one of our sponsors.

The post Dubai Says They Successfully Tested the First Autonomous Flying Taxi appeared first on Futurism.

Dubai Just Moved One Step Closer to Launching Its Flying Taxi Service

Investing Big

In February, Dubai, a city known for its active pursuit of all things futuristic, revealed plans to partner with German startup Volocopter on a flying taxi service. The city then updated the timeline for those plans in June, and now, it has moved one step closer to implementing them thanks to a €25 million (roughly $29.5 million) investment in Volocopter by Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler AG, Berlin tech investor Lukasz Gadowski, and a few others.

“The strong financial commitment of our new investors is a signal as well as proof of the growing confidence in the newly emerging market for electrically driven [vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles] put to use as personal air taxis,” Florian Reuter, Volocopter managing director, said in a press release announcing the new round of funding.

flying cars vtol volocopter autonomous aerial taxis
Image Credit: Volocopter

The startup has been working on a flying car for some seven years now, and the Volocopter 2X, a two-seater VTOL vehicle powered by electricity and capable of autonomous flight, is their second-generation vehicle.

flying cars vtol volocopter autonomous aerial taxis
Image Credit: Volocopter

Volocopter’s AAT would work like most ride-hailing services — a passenger would be able to summon the service on demand and then be ferried to their destination. The company will work closely with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) during a five-year testing period for this autonomous aerial taxi (AAT), which is set to begin by the fourth quarter of 2017.

flying cars vtol volocopter autonomous aerial taxis
Image Credit: Volocopter

Changing Urban Transportation

The benefits of a flying car or a flying taxi service seem obvious enough. For one, you’d avoid the usual traffic congestion of busy urban centers. Secondly, Volocopter 2X is safe and quiet, thanks to the 18 rotors that lift it off the ground.

flying cars vtol volocopter autonomous aerial taxis
Image Credit: Volocopter

According to the company, it won’t require heavy infrastructure support, either. “One moment, it is the replacement for a bridge that is being repaired, the other moment it is an air taxi used as a shuttle to a trade fair,” they explain on their website. This would effectively eliminate the typical concerns regarding the use of VTOLs in cities, such as the ones Elon Musk previously raised.

flying cars vtol volocopter autonomous aerial taxis
Image Credit: Volocopter

Volocopter isn’t the only company working on a flying car or an AAT. Uber has had plans for a flying vehicle and an aerial taxi service in the works for a while now, and a number of both established companies and smaller startups have their own designs for such vehicles, increasing the odds that flying cars will have a place in the future of transportation.


Disclosure: The Dubai Future Foundation works in collaboration with Futurism as a sponsor and does not hold a seat on our editorial board.

The post Dubai Just Moved One Step Closer to Launching Its Flying Taxi Service appeared first on Futurism.