Volocopter air taxi flies over Marina Bay in maiden test flight in Singapore

Volocopter will offer the service at a price just above the regular taxi fares in the city. The commercial launch is some years away, though.

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Volocopter air taxi in Singapore
Volocopter air taxi takes to Singapore skies

Singaporeans had a futuristic visual treat on Tuesday as Volocopter's flying taxi took to the skies over the Marina Bay. The taxi concept that will revolutionise the way people will commute in the most congested metropolitan cities of the world was brought to Singapore by Germany company Volocopter. The commercial launch of the air taxi is still some time away.

The 180-propeller vehicle, which looks like a large drone, took off from Marina Bay and flew for two minutes and 30 seconds in its first test flight. The much-anticipated test flight went ahead despite heavy rains in Singapore in the morning. Trial runs had earlier taken place in cities like Dubai, Helsinki, Germany and Las Vegas.

The German company has ambitious plans for the future. It told CNN earlier that Volocopter plans to fly around 100,000 passengers per hour across the world in the next 10 years.

How much will a ride cost?

So, how much will a ride on Volocopter cost? The prices for the ride haven't' been decided/revealed yet. The commercial launch of operations will take at least two more years. Meanwhile, it has been reported that Volocopter will offer the service at a price just above the regular taxi fares in the city.

"Of course there are some challenges remaining but the most fascinating aspect of it: It's not just for the rich and wealthy because once it goes autonomous, it will cost only as much as a taxi costs nowadays," an official told CNN.

Volocopter had said earlier that Singapore is a key place in its plans as the city-state is known for its great culture of innovation. "We generally consider Asia to be a huge opportunity to benefit from this new technology, and we intend to have a strong presence in Asia starting here in Singapore," Volocopter chief executive Florian Reuter told AFP news agency.

Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Reuters

Volocopter had conducted an unmanned trial in Dubai in 2017. "In the end, we want to have Volocopter systems here in Singapore as a public transport system for business travellers or tourists," Volocopter co-founder Alexander Zosel told the Channel News Asia earlier this month.

"The plan is to open the first route in the next two to three years, but this will be defined with the authorities, and that could be a tourist case or a business case for example from the airport to the business district."

This article was first published on October 22, 2019