Flying taxi firm confident of launching service before 2024 Olympics in Paris
Image credit: reuters
German firm Volocopter performed a test flight of one of its air taxis at the Paris Air Forum yesterday with plans to introduce a service to the city by the time it holds the Olympics in 2024.
Its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft was flown for three minutes in a remote-controlled flight that was the first public demonstration of an electrically powered air taxi in France.
The Volocopter 2X flew a 500m route at speeds up to 30km/h and 30m high along the Le Bourget airfield. The flying taxi, which looks like a tiny helicopter, has the capacity for two people on board and a luggage compartment.
This flight marks the beginning of a multi-step testing campaign, in cooperation with the French Civil Aviation Authority, to safely bring electric air taxis to the Île-de-France region.
“The first flight today in Paris highlights Volocopter’s commitment to bring air taxi services to this region in time for the 2024 Olympic Games,” said Florian Reuter, Volocopter CEO.
He added that the firm hopes to have a regular service in operation by that time but it would need to be operated by a fully licensed pilot at first in order to comply with existing regulations. Ultimately the firm wants to fully automate the vehicles so a pilot's licence isn’t needed.
Edward Arkwright, deputy CEO with airport operator Groupe ADP, said: “Today, we were as close as never before in France to experience electric aviation.
“Volocopter is a vivid example of what the futures of aviation could look like, both carbon-free and innovative.”
“Volocopter is now ready to enter a first test flight campaign by September on the Pontoise airfield sandbox we have been building up in the past months.”
While not a common sight at the moment, there are a large number of competing start-ups developing different flying taxis that run on electricity which all hope to launch commercial services over the next few years.
Earlier this month, aircraft leasing company Avolon issued a $2bn (£1.4bn) order for 500 eVTOL vehicles from British start-up Vertical Aerospace. They also hope to launch a commercial service by 2024.
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