Achieving a stable vertical take-off along with a perfect landing at an international airport while sharing the common airspace used by other commercial flights, Volocopter’s 2X eVTOL has become the first air taxi of its kind to do so. Volocopter, a German startup released a video of its 18-rotor aircraft (or octadecacopter) flying around Helsinki Airport on Friday showing Damian Hischier, a test pilot, zooming around the runways a few dozen feet in the air.
The news comes after Volocopter revealed its brand new commercial aircraft design earlier this month, dubbed the VoloCity. The flying car features an impressive 18 rotors with additional stabilizers, allowing it to ferry up to two passengers plus hand luggage at up to 68 mph (110 km/h). That progress has attracted some serious backing, too, with Intel providing Volocopter with both technology and assistance and Daimler investing around $30 million.
Definitely this is not the first test flight the company has conducted by any means but what makes this particular test flight stand apart from others is the fact that it was fully integrated with both traditional air traffic management and air traffic management systems designed specifically for aircraft with no pilot onboard controlling the vehicle manually meaning fully auto-piloted crafts or flights. The test was focused on demonstrating how both the airspace system for traffic control, designed for manned as well as for the unmanned aircrafts, can co-exist even in the areas with heavy air-traffic – including over cities. They figure out that the Volocopter systems work well with each provider, which is a key step toward gaining certification for commercial flight.
Watching such level of progress towards commercial flights, thinking that the time for air-taxi is not far long from us is not wrong, but still, most of the other companies in this field are still around the testing phase. A lot of other questions like the value of this type of transportation still remains unanswered. But as those answers get sorted out, either through Volocopter or others, we will soon witness the first air taxi taking off soon.