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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Air Taxis Developing in the Asia Pacific

Volocopter.jpg
Spielvogel
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Wikimedia Commons

One vision about a space-age future may be closer than you realize. Flying taxis have made appearances in movies, but they may actually be tested as soon as next year in at least one Asia Pacific country — and maybe more.

A German aviation company plans to use the skies of Singapore to test an air taxi. And that test may come as soon as the second half of next year.

The company is called “Volocopter.” And artist renderings of the prototype show a vehicle that looks like a helicopter, but that’s powered by electric batteries and drone technology.

Late last week, the company said it plans to set up a design and engineering team in Singapore, but it is still three to five years away from a potential commercial operation. Volocopter did carry out a test flight of its vehicle in September of last year in Dubai, but it was a smaller version, with no people aboard.

Aviation Today reports the version to be tested in Singapore will be powered by 18 electric drives operating on high-capacity batteries.

A different version of an electric air taxi is being pursued in New Zealand.

volocopter_2.jpg
Credit Marco Verch / Flickr
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Flickr

Late last week, Air New Zealand announced it has signed a deal with a venture backed by Larry Page, the co-founder of Google. The https://vimeo.com/260155447" target="_blank">Cora air taxi is a self-piloting vehicle that looks more like a small airplane than a helicopter.

Earlier this month, Boeing’s CEO said his company is also working on a prototype of an air taxi . . . with test flights as soon as next year.

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