The VoloCity taxi, produced by German manufacturer Volocopter, was unveiled yesterday (September 30) by representatives from the Ile-de-France region, Paris airport operator Groupe ADP and regional transport network RATP.
Le taxi volant VoloCity de l’allemand Volocopter, présenté à Pontoise. Tests prévus sur l’aérodrome de Pontoise à partir de juin 2021, dans le cadre d’un programme soutenu par la région Île de France, ADP, la RATP pic.twitter.com/txCCQ9Dpel— Vincent Lamigeon (@VincentLamigeon) September 30, 2020
The aircraft is powered by electricity and has 18 motors. It can carry two people, including a pilot, flying at 100kmh at an altitude of 400-500 meters and with a 35km range.
Tests of the new flying taxi will begin in June 2021 in the aerodrome at Pontoise-Cormeilles-en-Vexin (Val d’Oise).
First tickets on sale in 2030
The VoloCity is currently awaiting certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which Fabien Nestmann, one of the managers of the product, expects will be granted in “two to three years”.
Valérie Pécresse, president of the Ile-de-France region, said she hoped the flying taxi could be unveiled at the 2024 Olympic Games in the capital and make Ile-de-France “a reference point for the global market for urban air mobility”.
CEO of the RATP, Catherine Guillouard, said possible plans for rolling out wider usage of the aircraft include “integrating mini-zones for take-off and landing into the urban fabric”. While the VoloCity can execute space-saving vertical take-offs she noted: “the question of noise will be fundamental”.
Tests will study questions of infrastructure, integration into airspace, and environmental and social acceptability of the aircraft.
Other models could be tested too
The VoloCity model is just one flying option that may be tested in Paris in the future.
Edward Arkwright, executive director-general of the Groupe ADP said: “Volocopter was the first to respond [to our search] but we have other brands that are interested. Anyone who wants to test a model can do so from June 2021, with no restraints other than to respect the specifications: clean, pollution-free, safe air travel.”
Airbus unveils plans for zero-emission air travel by 2035