Drone Air Taxi service
Published by : Industrial Automation
It is just a matter of time. If a drone can deliver a pizza, it might as well carry a person – just a matter of scaling up. Dubai, that modern El Dorado which is seemingly defying nature and gravity in its quest for scale and size in infrastructure and much else, had already declared its intention for launching Drone Air Taxi service earlier this year. In the last week of September 2017, it came a step closer to realising that dream when the crewless test flight of the German Volocopter soared in the sky, lifted by 18 battery-powered rotors with the capacity to carry two passengers and a flight time of 30 minutes, with maximum airspeed of 100 km/hr.
For the German aviation start-up Volocopter, the objective of making flying possible for everyone has drawn closer when in July 2017 it secured a finance deal of over 25 million Euros with the automobile firm Daimler from Stuttgart, the technology investor Lukasz Gadowski from Berlin and further investors.
Using this fresh capital Volocopter will further expand upon the leading technology in its purely electrically driven VTOLs (eVTOL), speed up the introduction process of the Volocopter serial model and conquer the market for flying air taxis. The safe, quiet and environmentally friendly aircraft, suitable for transporting two passengers, will revolutionise mobility in metropolises. In order to realise this vision Volocopter also invests in its team and plans to continuously develop it further.
Volocopter is up for a soaring start not just because of the successful round of funding: As early as in June the young enterprise already won top place in the international run for the world’s first pilot project involving air taxis in urban spaces. Now in the fourth quarter of 2017 Volocopter, together with the state transport authority “Roads and Transport Authority” (RTA) in Dubai, conducted initial demonstrations of the autonomous air taxi (AAT). By 2030 Dubai aims to carry out 25% of its passenger transportation with the help of autonomous means of transport.
“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 VTOLs put to use as personal air taxis,” says a pleased Florian Reuter, managing director of Volocopter. “We deliberately sought a mix of investors with strategic and entrepreneurial backgrounds and were able to implement this perfectly with Daimler und Lukasz Gadowski.”
Automobile companies specifically are intensely interested in the mobility of the future – in autonomous driving or electrical mobility for example. Daimler is therefore a very valuable strategic partner for Volocopter. “We are world leaders in the development of electrical VTOL aircraft” says Reuter, “and for it to stay that way in the future we are very pleased with the participation of the worldwide leader in automobiles.”
The investor Lukasz Gadowski on the other hand, can support the aviation start-up in very different ways: He has already successfully founded and financed numerous enterprises. Gadowski has enormous experience in the fast and global scaling of tech start-ups. This will be of great value to Volocopter in asserting itself on the global market. “I have been interested in flying cars and following their development for a while. When I saw the Volocopter I got it: The “flying car” has no wheels! What is exciting at Volocopter is not just the magnificent vision but also that which has already been tangibly implemented. Huge ambition with both feet on the ground – a unique combination! In the coming years we can expect a revolution in manned aviation. We at Volocopter will significantly contribute to shaping it!”
Together with its partners, Volocopter will be using the new funding to further expand upon technical innovations and its pioneering role within the emerging industry. The plan is to further the development of the Volocopter up to production maturity and commercial licensing through aviation authorities worldwide. Amongst other things, extensive test flight programs are envisaged for this purpose. In order to speed up progress, the employment of additional engineers specialised in the development of flight systems, software and electric propulsion as well as the development of commercial function is envisaged.
To introduce the Volocopter serial model to the market with full impact the company will also apply the investment to developing brand awareness and a new website has already been launched. In addition a professional communications team all around marketing and PR will be installed in order to be optimally equipped for planned events and demonstrations of the Volocopter in the coming months. This will create additional interest and customers for the Volocopter – besides RTA in Dubai.
Volocopter GmbH is the global leader in the development of vertically launching, fully electrical multicopters for the transport of people and of heavy lifting cargo drones. The technical platform is extremely flexible and permits piloted, remote controlled and fully autonomous flight. In addition, the unique design offers a huge degree of safety based on the high redundancy of all critical components. The company’s stated objective is to make every human’s dream of flying come true and to help modern cities resolve their increasing mobility issues.
As early as 2011 the company earned its entry into the history of aviation through the manned flight of the world’s first purely electrical multicopter. Since then the young enterprise has set new milestones: In 2016 Volocopter was granted provisional licensing for a two seater Volocopter by the German aviation authority and in 2017 the aviation start-up entered into an agreement with RTA Dubai over the global premiere of an autonomously flying air taxi.
The first licensed Volocopter should be on the market next year. In the meantime, the founders Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel have gathered an excellent team of experienced managers like CEO Florian Reuter (formerly of Siemens) and CTO Jan-Hendrik Boelens (formerly of Airbus Helicopters). This paved the way for the further expansion of the company.
Article and photos courtesy Volocopter GmbH.
- The Volocopter flies fully autonomously. Its intelligent operation system ensures maximum safety under all conditions.
- Fast, secure and direct arrival: The Volocopter knows neither traffic congestion nor detours.
- The Volocopter complies with stringent German and international safety standards. Photo: Nikolay Kazakov – Karlsruhe
- The Volocopter on the unmanned test flight in Dubai sky. Photo: Nikolay Kazakov – Karlsruhe
The technical platform is extremely flexible and permits piloted, remote controlled and fully autonomous flight