Volocopter autonomous air taxi given test flight in Dubai


The two-seater Volocopter, capable of transporting people without human intervention or a pilot, has flown a test flight near the Jumeirah Beach Park in Dubai.

The Volocopter has unique features including security and safety standards, and multiple redundancies in all critical components such as propellers, motors, power source, electronics and flight controls.

It is also fitted with optional emergency parachutes, nine independent battery systems, and a battery quick-charge and plug-in system, which takes two hours to reach full charge in the prototype version, a time that will be significantly reduced in the production version.”

Powered by electricity and featuring low noise levels, the current prototype version has a maximum flight time of approximately 30 minutes at a cruise speed of 50km/h (31mph), and a maximum airspeed of 100km/h (62mph). All these features will evolve in the production vehicles. The aircraft is 2m (6.6ft) high, and the diameter of the rotor rim is approximately 7m (23ft), including propellers.

Over the next five years, Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) will collaborate with the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that the operational requirements for implementing autonomous air taxi (AAT) services are put in place. These requirements include developing laws and policies governing certification of the aircraft and AAT operations at an Emirate and Federal level; defining aerial routes and corridors; designing and locating take-off and landing points; setting standards for official operators of AAT services in Dubai; identifying the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders; and specifying security and safety standards for the AAT.

The RTA has appointed USA-based JDA Aviation Company, an autonomous air vehicle safety specialist, to oversee preparations for Volocopter flights and to manage safety. The trial operations and the process of developing legislation for this type of vehicle will stretch across five years, during which comprehensive operational, security and safety measures will be put in place. 

Click here to see a video of the Volocopter taxi trial. 

September 27, 2017

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