Air taxis ready for use

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AutoFlight

The demonstration prototype of AutoFlight’s Prosperity I air taxi has already completed more than 30 test flights, all of which have been completed since its launch in April. The POC2 (proof-of-concept) version of the Prosperity I has new propellers to aid lift-off, and the two propellers that previously provided the forward thrust have been replaced by a central propeller and two motors.

The current configuration already looks almost identical to the final design, but the full-size, finished eVTOL will not be unveiled until sometime later this year. The company later plans to launch passenger services in 2026, and the air taxi will cut an otherwise hours-long car journey to 10 minutes, without costing more than traditional taxis.

Volocopter

Volocopter’s VoloDrone test-flight performance was presented to the public last year, while VoloCity was unveiled in April this year: the former’s eVTOL stands out from the competition with its huge size, as it is intended for parcel delivery and will be able to carry up to 200 kilograms of cargo over a distance of 40 kilometres, while VoloCity will debut at the Paris Olympics and will then operate in cities.

The first flight of the company’s VoloConnect, which can carry three passengers, has just taken place, with the prototype being tested for two minutes performing various manoeuvres. The VoloConnect will be a complement to the VoloCity, with a range that exceeds that of the other eVTOL: it will be able to cover 100 kilometres at a top speed of 250 km/h (the VoloCity will cover 35 kilometres on a single charge and have a maximum speed of 110 km/h). Volocopter is planning to launch the service slightly earlier – as we wrote earlier, it will be used to transport visitors to the Paris Olympics once the permits have been obtained, and then the service will be systematised.

Lilium

The Phoenix 2 model from eVTOL manufacturer Lilium eVTOL has passed one of its most difficult tests, successfully completing a manoeuvre to change its main wings from a “hovering” position to a horizontal heading, according to a 6 June announcement. According to Lilium, this is one of the most complex, but also the most basic, operations required for eVTOL to work and a successful test is a milestone for aviation. Lilium began testing the fifth-generation aircraft in Germany last year, and this year continued trials at the ATLAS centre in Spain, with high-speed flight being the next step.

The Phoenix 3 prototype, which is expected to deliver even better results, will also be unveiled this summer, with the licence originally planned for the end of 2023. The eVTOL’s special design, with 36 propellers, will enable it to deliver above-average performance: a maximum speed of 300 km/h and a range of 300 km.

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