Urban transportation company Volocopter recently launched its extraordinary 18-rotor electric aircraft into the skies, which it claims is the first public-crewed test flight of an all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxi in the United States. It goes live in the video below.
The Volocopter 2X entertained crowds at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture 2021 event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, earlier this week.
The unique-looking aircraft flew over Wittman Regional Airport for about four minutes, reaching an altitude of 164 feet (50 meters) and a top speed of 29 km/h.
While a pilot was used on the last US flight, the Volocopter 2X can also be flown autonomously or even remotely by a pilot on the ground. The current design is much quieter than a regular helicopter and can fly up to 30 km on a single charge.
The German company behind Volocopter 2X said such flights help raise awareness of air taxis among people around the world as it works steadily to launch commercial services in urban areas globally.
Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter said this week his company is working to bring electric flights to cities around the world “in the next two to three years.”
Launched in 2011, the company has several eVTOL drones in development alongside the Volocopter 2X. These include the similarly designed two-seater VoloCity, the recently introduced four-seat VoloConnect for longer journeys of up to 100km, and the pilotless VoloDrone designed to carry payloads.
And as this collection of other similar projects shows, Volocopter is certainly not the only one trying to develop eVTOL aircraft for urban mobility.
These efforts have also received financial support from some major companies, including Airbus, Toyota, and Hyundai, and the companies clearly believe that such “flying taxi” services have a viable future.
Of course, regulators will have the final say in launching such services in cities and towns in the US and beyond, with the safety of those on the ground as well as those on board a priority.