If you, like me, saw the word ‘volocopter’ and thought we had a new robot dinosaur roaming the earth; I’m sorry. Volocopter is in fact the German firm responsible for a new air taxi service – which is actually pretty cool too.
Volocopter (once again, sorry), a German company, flew its electric air taxi for the first time in France on Monday during a show in Le Bourget airport, and said it hoped to have a service operational in time for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
I can see the opening ceremony now: fireworks go off over the Eifel Tower as indie-band Phoenix drop into the arena via air-taxi, the buzz of the copter matching perfectly with their synth and electronic beats.
The flying taxi, which resembles a small helicopter or 20 drones attached to a large hula hoop, took off from Bourget airport near Paris. It flew for three minutes before landing vertically.
There were no passengers on board for the demonstration flight, but the air taxi has the capacity to carry two people on board, as well as a luggage compartment.
The air taxi flew half a kilometre, approximately 30m above the ground and reached speeds of up to 30km per hour…so slightly faster than a lime scooter. At least there aren’t random car doors opening in front of you up in the air.
Volocopter Chief Executive Florian Reuter described the urban mobility market as “gigantic”.
“The clear intention for Paris 2024, the objective is to actually have a regular service in operation,” Reuter said. “That’s a challenge.”
“The clear intention for Paris 2024, the objective is to actually have a regular service in operation,” Volocopter Chief Executive Florian Reuter said. “That’s a challenge.”
To comply with existing standards, Reuter said the flying taxi service would be operated by a fully licensed pilot at first but hopes the vehicles will be able to fly fully automated in the future.
I hope so too. I also hope their next project is building a robot dinosaur.
Main image: AAP Photos