Volocopter To Launch Air Taxi Service In Singapore
Germany’s Volocopter has committed to launching air taxi service in Singapore within three years using its piloted two-seat VoloCity all-electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing vehicle.
The startup flew its prototype air taxi in Singapore in October 2019, and also showcased a prototype of its VoloPort vertiport design on a floating platform in Marina Bay.
Singapore is the first city to be announced as a location for Volocopter’s branded urban air mobility (UAM) service, although the German startup plans to participate in trial flights in Paris leading up to a demonstration air taxi service during the 2024 Olympics.
The first route in Singapore is expected to be a tourist flight over the southern waters, the company said, offering views of the Marina Bay skyline. Follow-on connections may include cross-border flights to enhance regional connectivity.
China’s EHang and U.S. startup Wisk, both of which are developing self-piloted two-seat air taxis, are also targeting aerial tourism as an early commercial application of electric vertical takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) technology.
Volocopter has yet to fly the production-configuration VoloCity, but plans to certify the 18-rotor multicopter eVTOL vehicle by the end of 2022 under the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s Special Condition for VTOL rules.
In preparation for launching service in Singapore as its first location in Asia, the company has founded Volocopter Asia Holding. There are plans to build up a team of 50 pilots, engineers, operations specialists and managers in the unit over the next three years. Volocopter expects to hire more than 200 employees by 2026 to manage a network of Singapore routes.
The company has initiated R&D projects with local institutions, starting with the Nanyang Technological University. “Topics like route validation for autonomous operations, material science and research regarding battery technology are important for our long-term business success,” Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter said in a statement.