You may know Volocopter for its extraordinary 18-rotor electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft, but the German company has also been working on several other designs suitable for different kinds of flights.
One of these is the VoloConnect, an eVTOL fixed-wing aircraft capable of carrying four passengers on journeys of up to 60 miles at speeds of around 155 mph.
Following its unveiling last year, a prototype of the sleek-looking VoloConnect recently achieved its maiden flight using six rotors to get up and down, and two propulsion fans for forward movement. You can watch it in the video below:
Volocopter says that while the VoloCity is a two-seat vehicle for urban flights of up to 22 miles, and the VoloDrone is a cargo carrier with a 25-mile range, the VoloConnect is designed for longer trips and aims to “connect the city with the suburbs in one swift, smooth, and emission-free flight.”
It added that it’s targeting 2026 for a commercial service using the VoloConnect, with more testing and regulatory green lights necessary for its smooth deployment.
The company also revealed that the VoloConnect’s maiden flight means that it has now successfully tested all three of its machines in the air.
“Having a whole family of electric aircraft in the test flight phase is a pioneering feat,” Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter said in a release. “Volocopter’s leadership in the industry stems from announcing plans and then delivering on them visibly with public test flights. Volocopter is bringing these innovative designs off the ground, into the air, and then to cities worldwide.”
Volocopter is one of a growing number of outfits targeting the commercial eVTOL “air taxi” market, with many wonderful designs populating the sector. Many of the main players are receiving some serious financial backing, though with many aircraft still being tested, and regulators cautious about letting the small electric aircraft make low-altitude flights over populated areas, commercial services using the vehicles are yet to get off the ground.
Founded in 2011, Volocopter employs more than 500 people in Germany and Singapore. The company has successfully completed more than 1,500 public and private test flights, and raised more than $500 million equity from a range of investors, among them Mercedes-Benz Group, Intel Capital, and BlackRock.