Volocopter’s flying taxi is up, up and away.
The German startup, which is one of the pioneers in urban air mobility, just shared a video of the fully electric “VoloCity” air taxi successfully completing its first flight.
The culmination of 11 years of development, countless iterations and more than 1,500 test flights, the final, full-size prototype successfully performed its maiden voyage in Bruchsal, Germany. The flight, which actually took place last December, marks a major milestone for the company.
“These moments demonstrate how our pioneering spirit will bring our vision to life before our very eyes,” the company said in a statement. “And it’s just the push we need as we enter the final leg of the race to commercial launch.”
To recap, the VoloCity is equipped with 18 rotors and 18 electric motors on top of the beam structure that are powered by nine rechargeable batteries. Designed for short, metropolitan jaunts, the near-silent aircraft can cover up to 22 miles at speeds of up to 62 mph, according to Volocopter.
What’s more, the company says the VoloCity’s batteries can be swapped out in about 5 minutes, which drastically reduces turnaround times and allows for almost continuous use of the aircraft.
Fitted with two seats and space for hand luggage, VoloCity aims to safely shuttle passengers on emission-free flights throughout urban areas. Riders will even be able to hail the air taxi with their smartphones.
Volocopter hopes to have the production model of the VoloCity operational for the 2024 Paris Olympics. It appears some related infrastructure will be in place in the French capital, too: A consortium of urban-air-mobility companies called RE.Invent has built a UAM “sandbox” with a functioning vertiport at the Pontoise-Cormeilles-en-Vexin airfield outside of Paris where air taxis can take off and land.
Now that’s one high-profile debut.