Volocopter, a German autonomous aviation company has entered into an agreement with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai, to test run the world’s first ever Autonomous Air Taxi (ATA). In simpler terms: an 18-rotored flying taxi service is what’s envisioned by Volocopter, formerly known as E-Volo.
Last year the VC200 had completed its first ever manned test flight. Earlier this year, at the AERO Friedrichshafen aviation fair, Volocoptor displayed its first production model – The 2X. It had a maximum range of 17 miles and a maximum speed of 43 mph. Maximum flight time was 27 minutes and also supported cruise control. Dubai RTA settled with Volocopter for their project because of strict quality control, and stringent German safety and standards checks. The company has proven positive all the tests and checks it had to endure. Flying above 100ft was also successful in every single test. Unlike Volocopter’s Chinese counterpart, the Ehang – that crashed every time when above 100ft.
“The test flight would start in the fourth quarter of 2017, and has been scheduled to run for the next five years”, said Alexander Zosel, the co-founder of Volocopter. Officials at the Dubai RTA are planning on handling 25 percent of Dubai traveling passengers using autonomous vehicles by the end of 2030. “We are very grateful and proud that the Dubai RTA has selected us as their partner after rigorous testing,” further stated Zosel. Making flying an option for everyone and on re-engineering mobility in urban areas is the underlying motto upon which Volocopter has presented its case to the Dubai RTA.
More flying drones to come
There are other players in the market developing autonomous air vehicles which have struck similar deals. The Chinese drone company Ehang being the next on the list, for yet another RTA project.
Ehang was contracted to test out their single-person quadcopter as an alternative mode of transit within Dubai. Uber has visions similar to that of Volocopter and Ehang, and in October 2016, released a white paper laying out their vision through the Uber Elevate concept.