Urban Transport

Volocopter flying taxi takes unmanned flight over Dubai

Volocopter flying taxi takes u...
Dubai is moving full steam ahead toward a future skyline dotted with modern skyscrapers and flying taxis
Dubai is moving full steam ahead toward a future skyline dotted with modern skyscrapers and flying taxis
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Flying taxis are serious business
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Flying taxis are serious business
The Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, was on hand to press the launch button to kick off the first flight of the Volocopter flying taxi
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The Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, was on hand to press the launch button to kick off the first flight of the Volocopter flying taxi
Dubai is moving full steam ahead toward a future skyline dotted with modern skyscrapers and flying taxis
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Dubai is moving full steam ahead toward a future skyline dotted with modern skyscrapers and flying taxis
Flying taxis are serious business
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Flying taxis are serious business
Dubai announced its plans to trial the Volocopter back in June
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Dubai announced its plans to trial the Volocopter back in June
The Volocopter in its current form can fly for 30 minutes at a time
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The Volocopter in its current form can fly for 30 minutes at a time
The Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, was on hand to press the launch button to kick off the first flight of the Volocopter flying taxi
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The Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, was on hand to press the launch button to kick off the first flight of the Volocopter flying taxi
Dubai is moving full steam ahead toward a future skyline dotted with modern skyscrapers and flying taxis
8/12
Dubai is moving full steam ahead toward a future skyline dotted with modern skyscrapers and flying taxis
Dubai announced its plans to trial the Volocopter back in June
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Dubai announced its plans to trial the Volocopter back in June
The Volocopter in its current form can fly for 30 minutes at a time
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The Volocopter in its current form can fly for 30 minutes at a time
Nobody was in the vehicle as the Volocopter made its maiden flight over Dubai
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Nobody was in the vehicle as the Volocopter made its maiden flight over Dubai
The Volocopter is designed to carry two passengers
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The Volocopter is designed to carry two passengers

Dubai is moving full steam ahead toward a futuristic skyline dotted with modern skyscrapers and flying taxis by kicking off trials of the Volocopter two-seater aircraft. The all-electric 18-rotor vehicle took to the skies for the first time over the city on Monday as the city looks to establish what would be world's first self-flying taxi service.

The Volocopter first emerged in 2013 as an audacious electric aircraft, and has gathered quite a bit of momentum in the subsequent years through a series of successful test flights and, more recently, a US$29 million investment from Daimler. Designed to autonomously carry two passengers from point A to point B without a pilot, the Volocopter in its current form can fly for 30 minutes at a time with a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph).

Dubai announced its plans to trial the Volocopter back in June, and has rebranded it as the Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) for its purposes. It is hoped the aircraft will play a role in having autonomous vehicles handle a quarter of all passenger journeys in the city by 2030.

"The Autonomous Air Taxi has a variety of unique features that include top security and safety standards, and multiple redundancies in all critical components such as propellers, motors, power source, electronics and flight controls," says HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Dubai's Road and Transport Authority. "It is also fitted with optional emergency parachutes, nine independent battery systems, and a battery quick-charge and plug-in system, which takes two hours to reach full charge in the prototype version, a time that will be significantly reduced in the production version."

Flying taxis are serious business
Flying taxis are serious business

Nobody was in the vehicle as it made its maiden flight over Dubai, near Jumeirah Beach Park. The Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, was on hand to press the launch button and kick off the autonomous test flight, and watch on as it beamed back live shots from the sky. He also received a briefing on how the air taxi will be integrated with other public transport systems and how the public will be able to book flights and track its flight paths through a smartphone app. The trials of Dubai's Autonomous Air Taxi will take place over five years.

Check out the flight in the video below.

Source: Government of Dubai

First public flight of an autonomous urban air taxi in a mega city by Volocopter

3 comments
Deres
If I understood well, such form of multicopter is highly inefficient versus conventional helicopters at this size. Just look at the multiple truss supporting all the motors and their cable versus a double helicopter rotor. Moreover, a rotor efficiency is better with larger rotor turning more slowly (deplacement is larger at the end of a long rotor and air resistance is smaller at lower speed). Multicopters are mainly interessant in small size because you can replace the complex mechnaical control system by a simpler electronic system. Look at UAV / drones : they transit to helicopter form for largely smaller that human size.
EcoLogical
18 rotors ... necessity or overkill? eHang has 4 x 2 counter-rotating rotors. Most drones have 4 rotors.
Grunchy
I wouldn't mind having too many rotors doing the work keeping me from crashing into the city. I'd pay the extra cost.