Dubai will debut the world’s first autonomous flying taxi late this year in collaboration with Volocopter. The German start-up has received $40 million from Daimler, tech investor Lukasz Gadowski and other parties to develop the all-electric ‘flying car’.
“The strong financial commitment of our new investors is a signal as well as proof of the growing confidence in the newly emerging market for electrically driven VTOLs to be put to use as a personal air taxi,” said the managing director of Volocopter, Florian Reuter.
“We deliberately sought a mix of investors with strategic and entrepreneurial backgrounds and were able to implement this perfectly with Daimler and Lukasz Gadowski.”
Volocopter has been developing the aircraft for seven years, and the latest model is able to travel a maximum distance of 27km at 70km/hr. The all-electric motor can be fully recharged in less than two hours.
Other flying vehicles are in development around the word, including the Kitty Hawk Flyer, which has been backed by Google founder Larry Page, and the Terrafugia X, designed by a group of MIT graduates.
The project is being supported by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority. The Volocopter is not the first piece of futuristic vehicle technology to be trialled by the wealthy Middle-Eastern city – Dubai police have announced they will use an autonomous vehicle to assist them with their duties last month.