September 29, 2020

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Singapore a prime location for air taxis

Singapore has been named as one of the prime locations for the potential commercial launch of electric helicopters (air taxis).

German company Volocopter has pinned Singapore as one of the ideal locations for this project and is currently working with regulators in Singapore to perform a public test flight in the months to come.

Following that, there are plans for launching the air taxis for commercial use in the next two to three years.

The firm has plans to provide its air taxi services for the price of a limousine ride.

Volocopter’s air taxis are designed akin to a drone with functions like a small helicopter powered by 18 rotors.

They have planned the commercial routes of their air taxis according to two selected customer profiles: A business customer and a tourist.

For business customers, their route could potentially be from the airport to the business centre.

Tourists can enjoy travelling in air taxis, flying from Marina Bay to Sentosa.

The first commercial air taxis will still require a pilot and hence can only carry one passenger at the moment. There are plans for pushing the innovation such that it can become a fully autonomous air taxi.

Volocopter has previously test run its air taxis in Dubai.

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) had signed an agreement with Volocopter in 2017 to test run the manned Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT).

According to RTA, VOLOCOPTER company was selected because of its compliance with international safety and security standards, as well as the rigorous standards of the German Aviation Authority.

The AAT’s autopilot or autonomous flying will enable the movement of people from one place to another without human intervention or a need for flight license holder.

The AAT has a variety of features intended to ensure safety, including multiple redundancy in all critical components such as propellers, motors, power source, electronics and flight controls. Its 18 rotors will ensure safe cruising and landing of the taxi in case of any rotor failure.

It is also fitted with a full aircraft emergency parachute, nine independent battery systems, battery quick-change & plug-in system, and fast battery charging time of 40 minutes.

It is environmentally friendly as it is powered by electricity and has low noise levels. It has a a maximum airspeed of 100 km/h and a maximum flight time of approximately 30 minutes at a cruise speed of 50 km/h. The AAT measures about two meters in height and the diameter of the rotor rim including propellers is about seven meters.