An idea which has been in development for a number of years now is slowly becoming a reality. The Volocopter, made in Germany by e-volo, is a vertical take-off electric aircraft which looks like a helicopter. Instead of a standard helicopter rotor, however, 18 rotors are mounted above the roof of the cockpit similar to a drone. This allows the aircraft to take off vertically and to have great manoeuvrability.
A version of the Volocopter, the VC-1 was first tested in 2011. The second model, the VC-2, was the world’s first ever manned, fully electrical multicopter. This latter model was recently tested in Dubai where it is reported to have flown for more than five minutes.
The company has developed an ambitious project with the government in Dubai: over the next five years, the local authorities want to test how public transport could look using the air. It is expected that all security checks and the necessary construction measures for airport stations will also be completed during the project.
Dubai is endeavouring to become a technology-friendly city. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktum said:
“By driving innovation and using the latest technologies, we are promoting the development of our country and building bridges into the future.”
The city plans to change around 25 percent of its passenger travel to autonomous means of transport by 2030.
Volocopter was founded by Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel. In a recent financing round in August, the start-up raised 25 million euros and included investors such as Daimler. The company is planning to establish a project in Germany for flying taxis along with Daimler.
The first prototypes in Dubai can stay in the air for up to 30 minutes and fly at an average speed of 50 km / h.