The German aviation startup Volocopter is planning test flights in the centre of Singapore for the second half of 2019. The series of tests will focus on urban flight conditions and will validate the use of an electric aircraft in an urban environment. The next step will then be public demonstration flights.
The startup from Bruchsal is receiving support from the Singaporean traffic ministry, the civil aviation authority CAAS and Singapore’s authority for economic development for the venture. Together with the CAAS they will define the scope of the flight tests and prepare the aircraft for the expected regulatory and technical requirements, as well as the infrastructure.
Additionally, Volocopter will set up a production design and engineering unit in Singapore to further expand contact to potential partners, particularly in the areas of real estate development, mobility service providers and infrastructure development who are interested in getting into the operation of air-taxis in Singapore. Volocopter’s CEO Florian Reuter said: “We are getting ready to start implementing the first fixed routes in cities. Singapore is a logical partner: The city is a true pioneer in technology and city development. We are confident this is another exciting step to make air taxi services a reality.”
Volocopter received a provisional traffic permit from the German government in 2016, and has been working closely with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), from whom the company is hoping to receive an official commercial permit. Volocopter regularly flies in Germany, and has performed several public demonstration flights, as well. In September of 2017, the company performed an unmanned test flight in Dubai.
The company uses technology based on drones to steer their electric VTOL in urban environments. The aircraft resembles a helicopter and is powerful enough to transport two passengers for about 30 km. They are advertised as being quiet enough, “that at a flight height of 100 m, it cannot be heard over the typical background noise of a city”.
In Spring, the startup presented a concept for the infrastructure of an urban electric air taxi. The startup estimates that the technology could be reality in as early as ten years.