The flying taxi of the future is coming, but it is elitist and not just intoxicating

The flying taxi of the future is coming, but it is elitist and not just intoxicating


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On the bright morning of Monday, 21. October in the city centre of Singapore, the German air-taxi startup Volocopters the VoloPort, the world’s first flying taxi station revealed. High up on a floating platform at the Marina Bay, the temporary structure offers the attractions of a generous view of the country, the ” central business district, most famous. The press conference went off without a hitch, although the ongoing construction crew, it was clear that this was an 11-hour effort.

the next day, shortly before the scheduled public test-flight for the volocopter is still 2X, a powerful downpour the whole demonstration threatened to cancel. A modest amount of press and guests waited in a nearby building, the rain was to; over the Bay, groups of people who were waiting to have a look in the future.

On Tuesday, the VoloPort-country place was empty. Some had assumed that the 2X can fly or at least land on the floating platform, but the small white plane was 700 metres away across the water. During the two minutes in the air, the audience was told, note the low noise profile. But on the distance it would have been quiet anyway. Once the flight was over, everyone was called to a group, get a photo and a drink, a plastic bucket, sat at the entrance of the VoloPort, collecting rain water from the roof.

A few moments later, the rain will resume. By the end of the week, which was VoloPort dismantled and Packed, ready to be deployed starts in the future. The great future of the electric air transport, in fact, a fleeting spectacle.

Volocopters, with its flagship-electric vertical take-off and landing of the flight of the volocopter is witness to that 2X, is determined, the flying cars an everyday solution, rather than an expensive pleasure.


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Big names such as NASA, Airbus, Boeing, and Uber have also thrown, to build their hats in the ring, race against the ambitious startups in the electric-aircraft as a viable methods of urban transport. Volocopters currently leads the highly competitive pack. But even with a successful prototype, one of the biggest obstacles to the public acceptance is still. It is hard to feel confidence in the idea of the Autonomous air taxis, when we have not even nailed to Autonomous cars.

the Marina Bay, the VoloPort took four days to get together as part 2019 Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress. Building materials for the VoloPort been sent over from China for a week-long pop-up to introduce the world to the concept of “urban air mobility.” In the midst of a sea of freshly laid artificial turf, the one-story terminal seemed to be intentionally ordinary, almost like a small car dealership. This was the work of the UK-based company’s Skyports, which is also known for its drone-delivery. It owns, develops and operates the VoloPort.

The branding is all Volocopters: the basic VoloPort is a simple check-in and lounge area, arranged around a large circular “Parking” for his electric aircraft. The construction is modular, so that it can be configured to have multiple landing pads, and air taxis. With sleek white kiosks, biometric ‘EU passport’, and minimal Seating, the interior resembled a sterile sci-fi movie set, albeit with a rushed work crews clean up after your 11-hour construction spree.

Anchored in this monochrome cocoon Volocopters eponymous plane: the volocopter was still 2X, a small, egg-like use of multi-copter-equipped with a wide Ring made of 18 rotors. It is built essentially an air-taxi, to the ferry closures, only one passenger at a time, through the congestion, overcrowding, and road below.

But instead of facilitating high-volume air travel between cities such as an airport, Volocopters focus on local point-to-point travel. If the company begins commercial flights in the year 2022, the passengers will be flown by a VoloPort to another.

aims by the year 2035, the company have dozens of VoloPorts and Singapore, each with the capacity to handle 10,000 passengers per day. The ultimate goal is not to do not require any special infrastructure, so that a 2X country into a Parking lot and take you to the movies. Even before the commercial launch of the VoloPort, Volocopters is already planning for a future in the VoloPorts are out of date.


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Flying cars are part of the space age, futurism. And after years of films represent jetpacks and hovercraft, it is a matter of for, not a if, we would finally have a taste of this technology, experimental prototypes, at least in the public imagination. While helicopters ferried the rich and famous for decades, advances in automation, battery and drone technology have made flying cars seem closer than ever.

Volocopters CEO Florian Reuter says, he is shown to be inspired by The Fifth Element, Luc Besson’s 1997 sci-fi / fantasy film, the chaotic scenes of flying cars is turning and nose-diving. Although he did not think, perhaps, the scene in which Bruce Willis’ character to be on-the-fly wrecks complete taxi.

But that does Reuter really see into the future, shown in The Fifth Element is considered a net positive? The world is dirty, heavily monitored, and the economic inequality is very pronounced. “That’s a good point,” he said. “I may have to rethink that analogy. I’m just trying to understand the people, the transformative elements that could, in the long run. Ultimately, it is up to us as a society, how we want to actually use this technology.”

Reuter has never flown in a Volocopters. The only people who fly are currently Volocopters certified test pilots. “We don’t make more of the rides, simply because the technology is not Mature yet, and we’re not all so extreme want to take the risk,” he said. And although Volocopters has done unmanned test flights for some time now, the company believes it needs to maintain public acceptance and confidence, starting with a pilot-operated flights.

Singapore is not an obvious candidate to present experimental air-technology. Low-flying aircraft are not in regular use by the residents. In contrast to the large U.S. cities, there is no day-to-floating to-day news or police helicopter overhead, and the strongest increase in low-flying air traffic is the months-long fighter jet deerearsal period prior to the annual National Day parade in August. The majority of Singaporeans are not accustomed to frequent low-flying aircraft activity, and even those who live in the vicinity of Air Force facilities still annoyed by the occasional fighter jet or helicopter roar overhead.

Singapore-traffic is not heavy enough to air-taxis, really. It ranked 88 counts to the TomTom Traffic Index. (Regional neighbors, Jakarta, and Bangkok are the seventh and eighth, respectively.) But the Singaporean enthusiasts have a reputation as a technology. And, perhaps more importantly, Singapore is a welcoming regulatory environment.

“Singapore, to me, has a tradition and culture that they are very innovative in the implementation and introduction of new technologies,” said Reuter. “I’m not deny that there are cities that have more severe challenges when it comes to mobility issues. Those cities, which, of course, we see as a large potential.”

And while Skyports has a partnership with Volocopters for country places, the relationship is not exclusive, so Simon Whalley, Skyports’ regulatory and policy manager. Other manufacturers around the world to work with Skyports, he said, although he declined to. For the Skyports, the VoloPort is a way of establishing the company’s dominance in a growing field, as it will take some time, air taxis, to reach a “certain degree of technological maturity” and, more importantly, obtain proper certification, Whalley says.

Volocopters believes that his work with the SkyPorts, it gives an advantage over other air-taxi companies in terms of planning and scale. “For me, I started four years ago with the first ideas about the infrastructure,” said Volocopters co-founder and chief technology officer, and Alex Zosel. “I work on concepts, where every ten seconds the aircraft can take off and land – they call it a hub. I strongly believe that you can bring a hundred thousand people per hour with the air-taxis through the city.”

the 2X the current capacity, this would require 100,000 aircraft, such as 2X can, only fit two people, one of them must be a trained pilot. If asked about a competitor, Lilium, five-seater prototype, Zosel argued that more seats would mean that multiple pickups and drop-offs, such as Uber Pool or the local equivalent, tomb share. Volocopters, on the other hand, is aimed at a single customer said it solo can afford rides like the cars, Zosel. Most of the cars only one person in them, he noted. Plus, larger aircraft mean more noise, more power consumption and bulky designs. That’s not all: larger aircraft mean larger batteries, which are the most expensive part of the craft.

Volocopters is unabashed in catering to the rich. “If it is today’s air mobility service, well, a helicopter. And the helicopter business is very elitist,” Reuter said. “We absolutely see the opportunity here, to an accepted, more accessible and affordable means of transport for many people, but it makes sense on certain routes only.”


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Volocopters is keen to emphasize that “surprisingly quiet” 2X. But a week before the VoloPort opening, the company has a video of a private test released-flight at Singapore Seletar Airport on Reddit with audio-flying craft that was not troubled at all surprising. “Of course it is a question of how close to the vehicle you are in, you know, the subjective perception of noise,” Reuter said. “We have only one source of noise is the rotors, and we have 18 of them, but they all work on a very narrow band of frequencies, which makes it much more pleasant, from an objective point of view, in comparison to a typical helicopter noise. I’m not asking, it is still – I think it is acceptable loud.”

pointed to, But as your almost aborted test flight of the carbon fiber, 2X has a bigger problem than the noise: the weather. In fairness, all aircraft conditions, such as haze, the impact on the visibility are susceptible to certain weather. But 2X has other problems: it weighs only 290 kg (639 pounds) when empty, makes it particularly susceptible to strong winds and rain. The company would not say how to overcome it, the island is characterized takes place every two years at the end of the monsoon seasons of the year, through several months of heavy thunderstorms and intense lightning. At the moment, Reuter admits that the only way to deal with bad weather to suspend flights until it is safe.

volocopter does not show electric air transport solution for the relief of existing Transport problems. It would like to build something completely new. And not to establish while the goal of the company, in a new era of air transport is absolutely unrealistic, the current approach to Wade avoids in the class, politics of urban transportation. Singapore is the home of over 200,000 millionaires, and a recent Credit Suisse report showed that almost half of the adult population to the richest 10 percent. Envisioning air-Taxi for Singapore venture capitalists and the tourist population is one thing, but it is hard to imagine, VoloPort always embraced by the masses, in a place with pronounced income inequality. Flying taxis, which might be around the corner, but the jury is still out on exactly how available to you.

Released on Thu, 21 Nov 2019 14:48:46 +0000

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