A pilotless drone-based air taxi will get a live test in Singapore next year as its German maker, Volocopter, pushes to make it a part of daily life in a number of cities.
Unlike helicopters, which can be quite noisy and subject to turbulence in urban areas where large buildings are part of the sky, the Volocopter is electric powered and uses numbers of small fan-like motors, similar to those of a small camera-drone, but more powerful. Its design is said to enable it to negotiate turbulence because it is not based on a single rotor.
The current model can fly two people for about 30 kilometers and can be flown either remotely or by an onboard pilot. Rooftop facilities would be used for charging as well as for take-off and landing. Singapore, which will also be the site of a design and engineering center for the company, signed on after public demonstration in Dubai last year. The company is also waiting for approval by the European Aviation Safety Authority to begin service in Europe.