Travelling to places “as the crow flies” may be a reality soon – sooner in fact, than many of us may have expected it. And German company Volocopter may be among those driving the change – if the video above, which looks like a scene from the futuristic cartoon The Jetsons, is anything to go by.
Volocopter, the company that previously tested out flying taxis in Dubai, recently unveiled its vision of an urban air taxi system that comprises rooftop “Volo-ports”. Volo-ports are essentially like subway stations or cab stations, but for flying taxis.
The video explains how these Volo-ports are expected to work. Each one is designed in a way to host the largest number of passengers possible – the company expects up to 1,000 passengers to board and disembark from their own personal flying taxi every hour during peak hours, adding up to some 10,000 passengers a day.
The batteries of the drone taxis will be replaced after each ride by robots, since the 2X aircraft can only fly for a maximum range of 17 miles, with a flight time of 30 minutes, right now. Of course, 17 miles as the crow flies is a lot more than 17 miles through winding streets full of traffic.
According to The Verge, Volocopter aims to have an aircraft take off and land every 30 seconds to host the maximum number of passengers. The company hopes to have a prototype station up and running in 2019, though it may take up to 10 years before an actual city-wide system will be functional.
Meanwhile, Uber and NASA are also working on their own flying taxi systems.