Fraport AG is working with Volocopter GmbH, a German aircraft manufacturer founded by Alexander Zosel and Stephen Wolf. Volocopter GmbH specialises in the design of electric helicopters such as ready-to-fly aircraft that are designed specifically for air taxi use.
Volocopter GmbH boasts of expertise when it comes to building two-seat, multi-rotor electric aircraft that can fly with a pilot or autonomously on its own.
Once these autonomous flying taxis are ready, Fraport AG could put those to some good use such as bringing people. However, it will have to wait until the legal framework for autonomous flying is in place and such aircraft can be certified for passenger use.
Volocopter's aircraft is based on drone technology. The company says they have flight tested in Dubai are quiet, safe and local emissions-free. Eventually, the idea would be to operate pilotless once the legal framework is established.
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On the other hand, the European Aviation Safety Agency says they are developing standards to facilitate certification of such aircraft.
Last year, British jet engine maker Rolls-Royce designed a concept of the propulsion system for a flying taxi that could carry four to five people at speeds of up to 250 miles per hour for approximately 500 miles.
“The initial concept vehicle uses gas turbine technology to generate electricity to power six electric propulsors specially designed to have a low noise profile,” the company said then, adding the design used its existing M250 gas turbine.
Last month, Bell showcased its flying car at CES, making us believe that flying car may not be far from reality. It will be available via Uber sometime in 2020. Bell Nexus is currently nothing more than a concept taxi. It will use six fans to take off and land.
Bell joined hands with Uber back in 2017. Therefore, Uber's flying taxi service is expected to be a reality in the not-too-distant future. Bell is showing off Bell Nexus at CES.
(With inputs from AP, Reuters)