Volocopter is celebrating 10 years in the electric aircraft business with the unveiling of a new design called VoloConnect.
The electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) vehicle will connect suburbs and cities, carrying as many as four passengers on journeys of up to 62 miles (100 km).
An animation (below) released by Volocopter this week shows how the 112-mph (180-kph) aircraft will look when it’s in the air. The video reveals various features such as the machine’s six sets of rotors, two propulsive fans, and retractable landing gear.
Volocopter’s design team has been working on VoloConnect for the last two years, coming up with a compact aircraft suitable for flights in urban areas and beyond. The Germany-based company says it’s already flying multiple scaled prototypes of VoloConnect and claims it’s progressing swiftly toward testing full-scale prototypes with the aim of gaining certification in the next five years.
The new VoloConnect vehicle is the company’s third such electric aircraft, joining VoloCity and VoloDrone in its fleet of planned offerings. The VoloCity is a smaller machine for two passengers. Lifted skyward by 18 rotors, the VoloCity is designed for shorter trips of up to 18 miles (30 km). VoloDrone looks similar to VoloCity but is designed to fly cargo instead of people. All three aircraft are still in the development phase, though full-size prototypes of VoloCity and VoloDrone have already taken to the skies.
“VoloConnect embodies the next dimension of our mission to offer affordable, efficient, and sustainable flight mobility solutions for cities around the globe,” Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter said in a release. Reuter added that after listening to customer feedback about its first two aircraft, designing VoloConnect to carry more people on longer trips feels like the right move.
Volocopter is one of a growing number of companies investing heavily in the development of these so-called “flying taxis.” Major names in the transportation industry such as Airbus, Toyota, and Hyundai are backing some of the projects, with many expecting urban mobility using eVTOL vehicles to become a major market in the coming years.
Check out this Digital Trends collection featuring some of the wonderful — and wacky — designs currently in development around the world.
- Watch the unique Volocopter take first public flight in the U.S.
- This 18-rotor passenger drone could fly at the Paris Olympics
- World’s first flying race car makes historic maiden flight
- Flying taxi startup Lilium shows off sleek new aircraft design
- 14 awesome flying taxis and cars currently in development