Volocopter raises US$170 million to help launch its air taxi
Volocopter, an air taxi startup, has raised US$170 million in its latest round of funding. The money will go towards the certification of the company’s electric passenger air taxi, which will enable it to launch in cities including Singapore, Rome and Paris.
Volocopter aims to help you avoid traffic sustainably, with three different electric vehicles so far, including two for passengers: the VoloCity and the VoloConnect. The VoloCity can travel up to ~22 miles (35 km) at cruise speeds of 56 mph (90 kph). The VoloConnect, designed for longer journeys, can travel up to ~62 miles (100 km) between charges with the ability to cruise at 112 mph (180 kph). The third vehicle is a drone for goods, the VoloDrone, that can travel up to ~25 miles (40 km).
The company claims to be the first electric vertical take-off and landing company to receive approval from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. So far, the company has carried out around 1,000 public and private flight trials.
Volocopter has said it hopes to have piloted commercial flights in Paris in time for the 2024 Olympic Games. The company also plans to launch its service in Singapore in 2024, starting with a Marina Bay touristic route. The company hopes to expand to up to 6 VoloPorts across Singapore by the end of the decade.
While the first flights will be piloted, Volocopter has explored autonomous vehicles in the past. For example, in 2017, the company ran its first autonomous flying car test in Dubai. The company has said that autonomous flights are a longer term goal as it thinks "that public acceptance will be easier with a piloted flight."