Aircraft

Electric Volocopter to be trialled in the skies of Dubai

Electric Volocopter to be tria...
The Volocopter can lift off and land vertically
The Volocopter can lift off and land vertically
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The Volocopter is powered by nine swappable batteries
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The Volocopter is powered by nine swappable batteries
The Volocopter is an all-electric aircraft that can autonomously carry two passengers from point A to point B without a pilot
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The Volocopter is an all-electric aircraft that can autonomously carry two passengers from point A to point B without a pilot
The Volocopter can lift off and land vertically
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The Volocopter can lift off and land vertically
The Volocopter has space for two passengers
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The Volocopter has space for two passengers
The Volocopter can fly for around 30 minutes at a time with a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph)
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The Volocopter can fly for around 30 minutes at a time with a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph)

If there is one place on Earth that seems set to embrace audacious transport solutions, then that place is Dubai. Already with upcoming flying taxi trials and plans for a supersonic Hyperloop network on the table, the city will soon see an 18-rotor electric "Volocopter" take flight as part of its first real-world test run.

We've followed the progress of the Volocopter since its first-ever launch in Germany in 2013. In the time since, its creators have conducted hundreds of unmanned test flights and even jumped into the cockpit themselves. They have also introduced a newer version dubbed the Volocopter 2. But kind of like a hoverboard or a flying car, you always got the impression that it would be a while before we saw this thing in the real world.

And then along comes Dubai, with its robotic policemen and firefighters that wear jetpacks. The local transport authority revealed earlier in February that it would be trialling the Ehang personal taxi drone around midway through this year, and now it seems they are placing more eggs in the aerial mobility basket.

The Volocopter has space for two passengers
The Volocopter has space for two passengers

The Volocopter is an all-electric aircraft that can autonomously carry two passengers from point A to point B without a pilot. Powered by nine swappable batteries, it lifts off and lands vertically, can hover in the air if need be, and packs a parachute in case of emergency. It can fly for around 30 minutes at a time with a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph).

For its purposes, Dubai is referring to it as the Autonomous Air Taxi, and will begin trial operations in the fourth quarter of this year. By the year 2030, it plans to have 25 percent of all passenger travel handled by autonomous vehicles. The Volocopter trial will run for five years.

Sources: Volocopter, Government of Dubai

4 comments
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that is really neat. It would be cool to ride in one in the future.
DFrancis
Another proposal to flood city skies with the drone of vuvuzelas.
Bruce H. Anderson
Helipads, you need helipads.
Kristianna Thomas
There has been a lot of talk about flying cars for a long time, but the Volocopter in something quite new. There is a sense of novelty about the technology, but can only see this as a replacement for the "traditional" helicopter. I don't see this making a real significant change in how transportation is played out in the future, because the vast majority of people will still be driving cars, trucks, vans (SUV's) and motorcycles. The big push is having autonomous vehicles that drive themselves to and from the passengers destination, but with billions of cars on the highways of the world it would take several generations to get them all off of the road to make way for the new. We need a more realistic solution to todays high way congestion, the quad-copter seems to be more pie in the sky solutions than real solutions. Our highways are linear in concept, so we must make the most of the space we have now by making them non-linear in design. We need cars that hover a few meters over the roadway, and not fly high in the sky; although, we do need both in order to solve this intangible crisis. The concept of the auto needs a major overhaul to fit in the new millennium.