News hardware Here is Volkswagen’s future flying taxi: an air of science fiction
Take a flying taxi in the air, a possibility that the German brand Volkswagen is currently working on: it has just unveiled a prototype of an electric aircraft that has a lot of ideas.
Various companies have been working on “flying car” prototypes for many years, with little lasting success so far. These include the AeroMobil and the AirCarwhich have been talked about during their tests on land and in the air.
But it is clear that few car brands have tried the adventure. That’s why the fact that Volkswagen is entering the dance is interesting. A few days ago, the Chinese division of the German manufacturer presented the prototype of the Flying Tigera model presented as a “flying taxi”. But against all expectations, it is not a flying car.
Volkswagen’s flying taxi will be a vertical take-off aircraft
The Flying Tiger is an electric aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landinga system called eVTOL for “electric vertical take-off and landing”. It takes its name from its black and gold bodywork, but also from the fact that it was made official in China during the year of the Tiger.
Volkswagen China summarizes this vehicle as being a “prototype drone capable of carrying passengers, at the cutting edge of technology”. It is interesting to point out that the manufacturer never speaks of a “flying car”, and for good reason, the Flying Tiger is completely devoid of wheels.
The prototype presented by the firm is operationaland it has also entered the test phase. For the moment, it is a model capable of carrying two people. The aircraft is 11.2 meters long by 10.6 meters wide, has eight rotors for vertical lift, and two propellers for horizontal displacement. Obviously there is no pilot inside. “The concept of the prototype is based on existing autonomous driving solutions and battery technologies for zero-emission mobility”explains the manufacturer.
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The company hopes to be able to conduct further tests “by the end of summer 2023”. The final version of the vehicle should be able to carry four passengers and their luggageover a distance capable of reaching 200 kilometers.
“In the long term, we intend to transpose this concept to series production, and, like a Flying Tiger, play the pioneers in this new dynamic mobility market”says Stephan Wöllenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China.
But to hope to climb one day in such a flying vehicle, it will be necessary not only to want to trust a gigantic drone to transport us in the air, but also have a solid transportation budget. Indeed, Volkswagen explains that the first commercial operation of the aircraft should be intended for “a VIP shuttle service”capable of carrying businessmen and celebrities “in a faster, more efficient and more flexible way than the means of land transport currently available”.
In addition to working on the viability of the Flying Tiger, its manufacturer will also have to obtain the necessary flight authorizations. “As part of the vertical mobility project, Volkswagen Group China will work with the relevant Chinese authorities to obtain the necessary permits”the statement concludes.