While autonomous electric cars have already become popular in the market, autonomous flying taxis are still in their nascent stage. European Automotive Giant Daimler has reportedly invested $30 million (25 million Euros) on the electric flying taxi start-up Volocopter. The company’s mission is to create personalized air transportation services for people living in urban cities.
Reinventing Urban Mobility
Volocopter aims to reinvent urban mobility by building the first electric and safe VTOL (Vertical take-off and landing) aircraft in the world. Commuting has become a serious problem in cities because of the alarming growth of traffic. Volocopter wants to solve the mobility issue in modern cities with the help of autonomous flying taxis. Though self-driving cars are already prevailing in the market, they are restricted to road traffic and will not solve the mobility issue in congested cities.
Initial Demos in Q4 2017
The European Car and Truck Maker Daimler have joined a consortium which is headed by Lukasz Gadowski, a technology investor and venture capitalist. They are interested in funding such innovations and hence they have offered $30 million funding for Volocopter. The company is currently developing the first 5-seat electric VTOL which it aims to use for its flying autonomous taxi service. The company has plans to conduct initial demos to the public during Q4 2017. Volocopter recently announced that it plans to start trials of its autonomous flying taxis in Dubai during the fourth quarter of 2017.
Positive Investor Sentiment for VTOLs
Florian Reuter, the managing director of VoloCopter said in an official statement that the strong financial commitment from their new investors indicates the growing confidence in the emerging market for electrically driven VTOLs which are suitable for personal air taxis. They were looking for investors from different entrepreneurial and strategic backgrounds and luckily they got hold of Daimler through Lukasz Gadowski.
There are several competitors for Volocopter in Germany who are also working on similar products. eVolo and Lilium Jet are the German start-ups who are potential competitors to Volocopter apart from U.S based company namely Joby Aviation and Terrafugia. Even the Commercial Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is also reportedly coming up with a single-seat flying car.
The company is working on scaling strategies to make Volocopter production-ready for deployment across the globe. It has been going on a hiring spree of engineers who can accelerate the flight system and software. The company also told that the first licensed Volocopter shall be available in the market by early 2018.