Flying Taxis Will Launch in Singapore and Paris by 2024
As the world begins making plans to return to the new normal later this year and early next, one key sector where consumer demand will likely yield exciting and forward-thinking innovation is transportation. Gone are the days where more cautious travellers and commuters will feel fully at ease cramming into a busy train station or airport terminal. Luckily, both traditional and disruptor companies are answering the call for more exclusive and, sometimes even, more Earth-friendly transport options.
Electric cars with some sort of self-driving safety-first functionality will become the benchmark norm—with car makers such as Jaguar even committing to going all-electric by 2030—and mass- and distance-travel will be the subject of a major rethink.
Out west, hail-and-ride helicopter companies such as Blade are already ramping up in preparation for higher demand for private and semi-private short and longer-haul jaunts—including commuter flights between New York City and its upstate suburbs for anyone keen to avoid the Metro-North commuter rail—all while integrating Covid-19 safety protocols such as pre-flight testing into its lounge experience.
And by 2024 in Singapore and Paris, German startup Volocopter is predicted to launch air taxis: eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft, to shepherd both passengers and parcels from points A to B. The sustainable, scalable "air mobility" company has made it its mission to "bring affordable air taxi services to megacities worldwide," the corporate statement says.
In 2019, Volocopter piloted a public test flight at Singapore's Marina Bay. The company aims to deploy its air taxis in collaboration with local operations partners and air traffic management. Being first-to-market with this offering and technology would make Volocopter the standard-bearer for future competitors.
“Volocopter is ahead of the curve in the UAM industry, and we have the achievements to prove it,” says Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, in a statement. “No other electric air taxi company has publicly performed as many flights in cities around the world, with full regulatory approval, as Volocopter has.
"Our VoloCity is the fifth generation of Volocopter aircraft and has a strong path to being the first certified electric air taxi for cities. Volocopter already has the extensive partnerships necessary to set up the UAM ecosystem for launching both our company and the industry into commercial operations. We are called the pioneers of UAM for a reason, and we plan to keep that title.”
To that end, the company recently completed a series D round of funding, raising, US$241 million at a total valuation of $624 million, according to TechCrunch. In addition to the demo flight in Singapore, Volocopter has also flown in Helsinki, Stuttgart, and Dubai.