Look Ma, No Hands! Unmanned Air Taxis to Launch in Singapore
It looks like something out of a science fiction film, but it could be the way you get your very next aerial tour of Singapore.
In a world first, after two years of tests and collaboration with the island city-state and a decade of development of its technology, ‘Volocopter’ is set to make no-pilot air taxi services a reality.
While other cities around the world experiment with driverless cars as a stepping stone to unmanned taxi service, Volocopter has unveiled pioneering ‘Urban Air Mobility’ (UAM) in this South East Asian destination.
Volocopter air taxis are helicopter-like, 2-person craft that take off and land vertically. They are emission-free and, according to the company, a quiet way to take passengers directly to their destination. With no pilot.
In this video
, you can see the historic, Volocopter air taxi demonstration flight in the very heart of Singapore, with the triple towers of the city’s iconic Marina Bay urban resort in the background. It gives you a sense of what UAM will look like flying through the skyline – and can you imagine the view for the two people inside?
Volocopter says it expects its first route in Singapore to be a tour for visitors to the city. The touristic route of its southern waters would include views of the Marina Bay skyline usually reserved for the elite in their private, piloted helicopters.
While pilots for aircraft file flight plans, unmanned Volocopter flights would be something like train trips, with pre-determined routes and stops or stations.
That’s not all. The company envisions routes with terminus stops linking to follow-on connections that could eventually include cross-border flights. At that volume purely touristic and awe-inspiring UAM crosses over to the realms of business travel and commuting for residents, enhancing regional movement and significantly improving everyone’s travel experience to Singapore's closest economic centers.
Believe it or not, Volocopter says its autonomous air taxis will be operating in the next three years. At launch, it might be a one-of-a-kind, bucket list ride in one of the most spectacular cities and futuristic skylines in the world, a high-tech version of a balloon ride over the other-worldly landscape of Cappadocia, a camel ride in the shadows of the Great Pyramid, or a rickshaw ride through the back lanes and courtyards of historic Beijing.
Ultimately, Volocopters may bring a whole new dimension to the lifestyle and travel experience of urban centers around the world.
Image: Volocopter GmbH
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by Lynn Elmhirst