Dubai wants to become the first city with flying taxis and its successful test run this week shows that it is on track.
Volocopter’s chief executive, Florian Reuter, said the taxis could be working within five years.
Volocopter has created a small two-seater helicopter, complete with 18 propellers which was tested in Dubai yesterday. The ceremony was arranged for the city’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.
The small helicopter is designed to fly without remote control guidance and with maximum flight duration of 30 minutes.
During the first test, the device hovered upward about 200 metres and whirred for above five minutes, according to Reuters. So rather less than its maximum flight time then.
However, it had a positive reception with Sheikh Hamdan and his entourage clapping at the display.
Reuter said that he envisions Volocopter working as an on-demand service, similar to Uber.
Implementation would see you using your smartphone, having an app, and ordering a volocopter to the next voloport near you. It already is capable of flying based on GPS tracks today, and we will implement full sense capability, also dealing with unknown obstacles on the way.
Move over autonomous cars, flying cars are coming
Volocopter isn’t the only company pushing for flying cars. Uber has said that it plans to have on-demand flying electric cars operating by 2020.
As well, earlier this year, the first commercial flying car went on sale, made by Dutch company PAL-V International. It’s available to buy for over £225,000.
If you’re looking to learn more about how flying cars will work, then the education startup Udacity is launching a nanodegree programme into the technology.
Founded by a former Stanford professor and Google X founder, Sebastian Thrun in 2012, Udacity creates project-based online learning programmes in self-driving cars, virtual reality, and data science. The flying car programme is the next extension of this.
The idea of a flying car is a metaphor for a new vision for the future of smart transportation. In launching a Flying Car Nanodegree program, our goal is to teach a new generation of engineers the skills necessary to build this smart transportation future.
The programme will open in early 2018 so there are no details on price. However, Udacity says it is building the curriculum at the moment and that students will learn: the basics of autonomous flight and as well as classes in understanding the wider air transportation system.
If you want to receive updates on the flying car programme, you can sign up here.