In an attempt to find a solution to clogged city roads and to provide an opportunity for growth in Germany’s high-tech industry, Volkswagen’s Audi and Airbus SE have signed a letter of intent with the German government to trial air taxis both in and around Audi’s home town of Ingolstadt.
According to Germany’s Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer: “Flying taxis aren’t a vision any longer, they can take us off into a new dimension of mobility. They’re a huge opportunity for companies and young startups that already develop this technology very concretely and successfully.”
Flying car technology is very much on-topic today, while in March at the Geneva Motor Show Audi and Airbus demonstrated their mobility concept based on an ultralight, two-seater passenger cabin that is capable of being attached to a car or a drone.
Additionally, Volocopter GmbH, a German startup backed by Intel Corp. and Daimler AG are aiming to offer the first commercial trips in the next three to five years with their drone-like electric helicopter which will be used to ferry people across city skies.
In September last year in Dubai, Volocopter completed its first flying taxi test flight, obtaining an altitude of 200m and flying for over five minutes. It is anticipated the two-seater battery-powered helicopter will have a flight time of 30 minutes before requiring recharging.
Additional competition comes in the form of Kitty Hawk, a company backed by Google co-founder Larry Page and Uber, which is working with partners on its own flying taxi strategy.