German startup Volocopter presents infrastructure for its electric flying cab service in the making. It consists of so-called Volo-Ports leading to Volo-Hubs, designed to shuttle thousands of passengers through each day. Volocopter wants to launch the first within 10 years.
It is not enough to launch a VTOL these days any longer. If those flying cabs are to integrate into future public transport, there need to be dedicated take-off and landing spots. Volocopter now launched their take on the matter.
Says Florian Reuter, Volocopter CEO: “We are here to develop the entire ecosystem making air taxi services a reality across the world. This includes the physical and digital infrastructure to manage unmanned systems.”
In a concept video, they specify their own air transport systems with Volo-Ports channeling up to a 1,000 passengers per hour, or 10,000 people in a day. Located on rooftops the ports are to form a network for the Volocopters to launch and land from and charge as well, using a battery or fuel cell swap system.
The German company imagines protruding launch pads that connect to a sort of conveyor belt on which the electric air taxis ride to an indoor hangar, the Volo-Hub, for passengers to alight before robots ready the air taxis for their next flight.
Volocopter’s stated aim is to have a mini aircraft take off and land every 30 seconds. Otherwise they will not be able to ensure enough passenger capacity to keep flights at an affordable price level.
The company expects the first full Volocopter air taxi systems with dozens of Volo-Hubs and Volo-Ports to be in place within the next 10 years but has not specified any destinations or city partners so far.
So while the current infrastructure proposal is just a concept, Volocopter has tested its drone-like cab with 18 rotors successfully before. An unmanned test flight took off in Dubai reportedly and the prototype managed to stay in the air for approximately 30 minutes. Volocopter counts Daimler and Intel among its investors that are hoping to electrify urban air transport (we reported).