A new ‘air taxi‘ that will fly commuters into cities at 259km/h (155mph) has aced its first test flight.
The electric VoloConnect looks like a toy drone scaled up to the size of a car and it can strafe sideways as well as do vertical takeoffs and landings (making it an eVTOL).
Video of the two-minute-and-14-second test flight shows it smoothly taking off and making some sweeping moves over a field of grass before touching back down.
The aircraft hit 64km/h (40mph) when it flew forwards in the test and 45km/h (28mph) when flying sideways.
The VoloConnect is a four-seater, made by US company Volocopter, and has a range of about 96 kilometers (60 miles).
It has six rotors for uplift and two electric fans to send it flying forward.
While the finished product is promised to hit 250km/h, the test flight got up to 64km/h (40mph) forward and 45km/h (28mph) sideways.
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The fixed-wing aircraft’s flight test results were announced at the UP Summit in the US, a gathering of industry leaders looking to innovate the way we use transport.
The test flight was actually back in May 2022, but the results of it were only announced this week.
And the success means Volocopter is the only eVTOL maker in the Western hemisphere to have an entire fleet of different style aircrafts undergoing test flights.
It also has the VoloDrone and VoloCity.
The VoloCity is a bit smaller than the VoloConnect and is made for flying short trips around a city.
The longer range and higher payload of the VoloConnect means it would be able to ship commuters into CBDs from outskirt suburbs.
It’s aiming to be ready for service in 2026.
This is what Volocopter Chief Engineer Sebastian Mores had to say about the test flight:
“This is an extraordinary moment for us – seeing the VoloConnect soar to the sky marks the achievement of one of our key milestones and demonstrates just what we are capable of in a short time and in line with the company’s overall strategy for crewed and uncrewed aircraft. Furthermore, new technologies will be tested that will gradually be implemented during the overall program development.”
“Having a whole family of electric aircraft in the test flight phase is a pioneering feat,” Florian Reuter, the CEO of Volocopter, added.
The eVTOL aircraft that are coming soon
The VoloConnect has plenty of competition in the race to bring air taxis to the world.
Here are some of the other aircraft you could see zooming around your city soon:
This is what Airbus has in the works.
It’s an all-electric, four-seat vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) multi-copter concept featuring a wing.
It has an 80-kilometer (49-mile) range and a cruise speed of 120km/h (74mph).
AeroMobil AM 4-seater
This one’s a bit different to an eVTOL.
It’s actually a flying car that seats three passengers plus the pilot.
It would have a range up towards 800 kilometers (500 miles), and could be like a bridge between private jets and short-range eVTOLs.
This is the Jetson ONE, it has eight powerful electric motors that blast it off the ground.
It’s a single-seater aircraft with a top speed of 102km/h (63mph) and can carry a 95kg (210lbs) pilot.
To get your hands on one, you’ll need a down payment of $22,000 and then a final payment of $70,000.
This is the Archer, an eVTOL aircraft that fits two passengers and can fly for 96 kilometers (60 miles).
It has a top speed of 241km/h (150mph).
Supercar Blondie got to check out the prototype, you can watch the video above.