Photo: Volocopter

First Drone-Like Air Taxis to Be Tested in Singapore

by Eben Diskin Oct 25, 2018

For all of our technological marvels, we can’t seem to figure out how to beat rush-hour traffic. But, if the trials of these new on-demand air taxis are successful, traffic jams might become a thing of the past. Slated for trials in late 2019, these German-designed, electric Volocopters will be tested in the skies of Singapore. The purpose of the trials is to determine how effectively and safely the Volocopters can operate in an urban environment. According to Volocopter’s website, the ultimate goal is to “make humanity’s dream of flying come true and help modern cities resolve their increasing mobility issues.”

The small helicopter-like aircraft can carry two people up to 18 miles and are controlled either via joystick inside the craft or remote from the ground. In addition to determining which flight mode is most appropriate, the trials will also look for feasible air taxi routes in Singapore. The tests will not be conducted in highly populated areas but rather in private, controlled locations. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) noted in a press release that safety is a top priority, promising to “set strict guidelines for the conduct of these trials to ensure public safety at all times, and ensure that the necessary requirements are met before flight tests are allowed to commence.”

This past April, Volocopter announced its plans to eventually build a series of rooftop “Volo-ports” where up to 1,000 passengers could board and disembark.

While it might sound like autonomous, drone-like machines are more dangerous than conventional modes of transport, CAAS claims that drone technology is actually “safer, quieter, and potentially cheaper than conventional helicopters.”

Volocopter has already tested its drones in Germany and Dubai, and it hopes to soon obtain a full commercial license with the European Aviation Safety Agency.

H/T: Channel NewsAsia

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