Volocopter nudges urban air taxi development closer to reality


Volocopter, one of the industry’s pioneers in urban air taxi development, has taken a major step forward to introducing its technology into the mainstream.

The concept defines the infrastructure necessary to operate and scale an air taxi service into a full network system spanning over cities and consists of Volo-Hubs and Volo-Ports.

The Volo-Hubs resemble cable cart stations with Volocopters landing and taking off every 30 seconds for example. Once landed the Volocopter is moved inside the Volo-Hub, with passengers alighting the aircraft protected from wind and weather. Battery packs will be swapped automatically in a protected area by robots before moving on to the section where passengers embark for take-off.

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Volo-Hubs are the key to substantially increase the capacity of any Volocopter system. Aside from protected deboarding and embarking, they offer sufficient space to park all Volocopters in operation and provide the infrastructure for charging and maintenance.

The company’s strategy integrates air taxis into existing transportation systems and provides additional mobility for up to 10,000 passengers per day with a single point-to-point connection.

Co-founder Alex Zosel commented that he hopes the first full Volocopter air taxi systems with dozens of Volo-Hubs and Volo-Ports will be in place within the next 10 years, capable of flying 100,000 passengers an hour to their desired destination.

The emission-free, electrically-powered aircrafts take off and land vertically in order to offer a high degree of safety based on full redundancy in all critical systems.

The Volocopters are based on drone technology and scaled up to carry two people, initially for distances of 27 km. The German company has shown repeatedly that Volocopters fly safely – last in Dubai and Las Vegas.

“Our ambitions do not end with developing the aircraft,” said Florian Reuter, CEO at Volocopter.

“We are here to develop the entire ecosystem making air taxi services a reality across the world. This includes the physical and digital infrastructure to manage unmanned systems.”

Zosel added: “We expect any air taxi transport system to begin with a point-to-point connection and over time grow into a system of dozens of Volo-Hubs in a city. Once operated at scale, flying won’t be significantly more expensive than taking a cab, but it will be significantly faster.”

As it is electrically powered, it is emission free in flight. Both, noise and pollution, are paramount considerations to achieving public acceptance of any new transport system.

Tags : air taxiDronepassenger droneVolo-HubsVolocopter
Emma Calder

The author Emma Calder

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