German startup Volocopter will shuttle passengers in its futuristic, flying taxi in Dubai before the end of the year.
Volocopter signed a deal with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority to begin testing the flying taxi in the fourth-quarter, the startup announced last Monday. The tests will last five years.
Here’s what you need to know:
Volocopter, formerly eVolo, has been working on its Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft since 2011. Like the name suggests, the flying taxi can take-off vertically without needing a runway.
The aircraft, dubbed the Volocopter 2X, is the startup's second-generation vehicle. It has been approved as an ultralight vehicle in Germany and can recharge in just 40 minutes using a DC fast charger.
The electric aircraft is designed to fit two and comes with 18 rotors, allowing it to fly through the air extremely quietly. It can reach a top speed of 62 mph for a limited amount of time.
But it's not a long-range vehicle. The Volocopter 2X is powered by nine batteries that allow it to fly for 17 minutes at a cruising speed of 43 mph.
The flying taxi tests beginning this year will shuttle people along predetermined routes in the city of Dubai. The tests are part of Dubai's aim to use autonomous vehicles to handle 25% of passenger travel by 2030.
The Volocopter 2X is equipped with sensors that allow for autonomous flight. But a pilot will control the aircraft during the five-year testing period as the government sets regulations for a flying taxi service.
'We now have the fantastic opportunity to develop and test the entire future ecosystem for safe, autonomous aircraft with the example of Dubai, together with the RTA,' Volocopter cofounder Alexander Zosel wrote in a press release.
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