Flying taxis may soon no longer be restricted to the realm of science fiction and could finally become a reality in Singapore.
German aircraft manufacturer Volocopter announced in a statement released last Thursday (May 23) that it had entered a partnership with UK-based vertiport owner and operator Skyports, with plans to complete the first-ever Volo-Port in Singapore by the end of this year.
According to the statement, the Volo-Port features ground-based vertiport infrastructure that comprises physical landing pads for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVtol) aircraft, which includes air taxis.
The construction has been planned to complete in time for scheduled public flight trials in the second half of 2019, said Volocopter.
The company noted that the Volo-Port prototype will enable real-life testing of the full customer journey to refine passenger experiences while showcasing planned customer services such as pre-flight checks, passenger lounges and boarding procedures.
It would also allow practical testing of ground operations and services as well as provide an outlet for the authorities and industry regulators to assess the infrastructure before approving the design, added Volocopter.
Alex Zosel, co-founder of Volocopter said: “Receiving the commercial licence for air taxi aircraft is a question of time, not possibility. We are thus focusing on shaping the necessary ecosystem around urban air mobility including air traffic management, city regulation and the take-off and landing infrastructure.”
Duncan Walker, managing director of Skyports, said: “Each individual Volo-Port is designed so that it can stand alone or connect to other ports in numerous formations, enabling rapid development and scalability. We have analysed the available spaces and movement dynamics in city centres across the world and recognise that infrastructure is a key enabler for the emerging urban air mobility market.”
Last year, Volocopter said the series of scheduled urban flight tests are designed to validate the ability of Volocopter’s eVtol vehicles to operate in the country’s urban environment and will eventually culminate in public demo flights.
The company said the test flights are supported by the Ministry of Transport, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, and the Economic Development Board.
Volocopters, according to the statement, are emission-free, electrically-powered aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing. Though they look like helicopters, the vehicles are in fact built upon drone technology, with the ability to carry two individuals over a distance of 30km.
The Volocopter is specifically designed for flights within the confines of inner cities, able to sustain stable flight even in micro turbulence around skyscrapers, the company added.
Volocopter had previously collaborated with the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai to conducted a public unmanned test flight in Dubai in September 2017.
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