Volocopter, an electric air taxi startup backed by Daimler, had its urban flight debut during a presentation at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.
We previously reported on Volocopter in 2017 when they received a €25 million ($30 million) investment led by Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, and a few other investors.
The startup is developing an all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOLs) aircraft aimed at creating electric air taxi services in urban areas.
They are using technology developed for drones and making it robust enough to transport passengers.
At the moment, the system is limited to a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) and a range of roughly 27 km (16 miles), but it is aimed at quick point-to-point transport in cities to bypass traffic.
With 18 motors and nine battery packs, the aircraft features a lot of redundancy to make the short trips safe.
We have seen similar approaches to air taxis and startups trying to create similar aircraft, but it has mostly been limited to plans and renderings.
Volocopter has an actual prototype that they have been flying around.
At an event called “Vision Smart City — Experience future mobility today” at Daimler this week, they brought the prototype and it completed its first “urban flight” in Europe:
Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, commented:
Our partner Volocopter shows how an air taxi is turning the dream of driving into the dream of flying. At Daimler we work on the mobility of the future, too. By 2022 we will have electrified the entire Mercedes-Benz portfolio. Our goal is that electrically powered cars will account for more than half of our sales by 2030. The road to climate-neutral mobility is a joint effort of companies and politics. We at Daimler are willing and ready to make our contribution.
Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, added:
Our Volocopter air taxis open up a completely new dimension in urban mobility. As Stuttgart has seen today, they fly safely, quietly, and are fast approching the implementation stage. Volocopter air taxis are able to ease traffic congestion in major cities around the world, also here in Germany.
The company has now raised over €85 million from Daimler, Geely, and Intel, and they plan to use the money to bring the aircraft to production and create their urban electric air taxi service.
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