Aircraft

Volocopter launches a fixed-wing flying taxi for longer flights

Volocopter launches a fixed-wi...
The VoloConnect flying taxi has a maximum cruise speed of 250 km (155 mph)
The VoloConnect flying taxi has a maximum cruise speed of 250 km (155 mph)
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A render of the VoloConnect in action
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A render of the VoloConnect in action
The VoloConnect flying taxi is designed to cover 100 km (62 miles) on each charge
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The VoloConnect flying taxi is designed to cover 100 km (62 miles) on each charge
The VoloConnect flying taxi has a maximum cruise speed of 250 km (155 mph)
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The VoloConnect flying taxi has a maximum cruise speed of 250 km (155 mph)
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Volocopter has added to its suite of futuristic air taxis with a fixed-wing version designed to carry more people across greater distances. The newly unveiled VoloConnect is designed to complement the company's existing aircraft built for travel around busy urban centers, by lifting folks away from the hustle and bustle and out to the suburbs.

Since entering the flying taxi scene back in 2013, Volocopter has introduced a few different iterations of its all-electric aircraft, incrementally refining the design to make it more aerodynamic, more stable and more powerful.

Its eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft known as VoloCity is built to carry two people between stations known as VoloPorts spaced around 30 km (18 miles) apart, with autonomous navigation systems handling the entire flight. The company has also designed a heavy-lift drone for carrying cargo weighing as much as 200 kg (440 lb), and even adapted the technology to build a crop-spraying drone for John Deere.

The new VoloConnect is a bit of a departure from the design of these previous aircraft, most notably through a hybrid "lift and push" system it uses to travel through the air. Where the other Volocopter aircraft has functioned essentially as a giant drone, the VoloConnect uses horizontal rotors to lift itself up into the air and adjust its altitude, and then a pair of propulsive fans kick in to send itself forward.

The VoloConnect flying taxi is designed to cover 100 km (62 miles) on each charge
The VoloConnect flying taxi is designed to cover 100 km (62 miles) on each charge

The four-seat VoloConnect can travel up to 100 km (62 miles) on each charge of its batteries and, with retractable landing gear, has a maximum cruise speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). The company says the aircraft has been in the works for around two years and it has tested scale prototypes and is "quickly progressing" towards testing of full-scale versions.

The design is also a little different to what we've seen from a number of notable players in the eVTOL scene that use tilting mechanisms to switch between vertical and horizontal modes of flight, such as Joby Aviation and Lilium. This is known as vectored thrust and promises greater performance, with Joby's aircraft capable of covering up to 240 km (150 miles) on each charge. The downside of vectored thrust, however, is likely a trickier path to certification, as Mike Hirschberg, executive director of the Vertical Flight Society, explains.

"Vectored thrust is the most complex and highest performance," he tells New Atlas. "Complexity equals more cost performance and schedule risk, but higher payoff."

The VoloConnect bears a stronger resemblance to Archer Aviation's eVTOL, which uses separate rotors for vertical lift and forward momentum, and also happens to have around the same range.

“We are confident that this aircraft family, and the years of experience and leading innovation on which it’s founded, will pioneer the way for electric UAM (urban air mobility) services to launch commercially and internationally," says Florian Reuter, Volocopter CEO.

The company expects to achieve certification of the VoloConnect within five years.

Source: Voloctopter

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5 comments
5 comments
Towerman
One of the prettiest airplanes with vertical props. Yes it does not sound exciting the way i put it, but thats what it is ! (not to take away anything from VOLO)

Please DO create this craft and let it be flown ! I love it. I just tend to have a sweet tooth for Multicopters and Tilting rotored aircraft, they are my babies.

I wish SKAI would kick into high gear and give us an update, and the cityhawk too (though its non tilting) it's uniques design look just as inviting ! So VOLO Please don't give up on your multirotor craft. Joby has really made strides with it's tilting EVTOL. if a V22 Osprey can get certification, then JOBY should not have a problem at all !
robertswww
This design looks more practical, especially for longer-range flights. However, I look forward to the day when flying car technology is more advanced, and designs are actually about the size of a car that you can park in your garage.
Gabor Pauler
This plan needs a strong reality check. Both the vintage MD-500 and EC-135 helis have smaller main rotor diameters than the outer dimension of this stuff. With at least 6 times more MTOW and range... So it will mostly increase PhotoShop sales.
jerryd
Another silly going no where multicopter as too inefficient carrying too much weight with fast turning small unreliable rotors.
For short ranges a twin large rotor EVTOL up to 75 miles and farther use E STOLs that can take off, land in a couple aircraft lengths.
And both these are 30% smaller that the silly thing in the article and the twin rotor can park 3-4x as many as the Multicopter and on a roof pad that means a lot.
Nelson Hyde Chick
These things will be great for the wealthy, letting them fly over the poor, and horrible for the poor and the incredible amount of noise they will bring to the urban environment.