Although the first commercial air taxi services are still years away, the positioning of the leading manufacturers at the forefront of development is already underway, as evidenced by the announcement of Voloconnect in May this year.
Founded in 2011, this is the second passenger drone from Volocopter, but while the Volocity is primarily designed for shorter urban trips, the Voloconnect will be specifically designed for longer journeys: according to the company, the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft will be able to carry four passengers at a time for up to 100 kilometres at an average speed of 180 km/h.
Although Voloconnect still falls short of the range of Lilium, which is also at the forefront of passenger multicopter development, it will clearly significantly extend the range of eVTOLs, which can travel up to 100 kilometres between cities.
The Voloconnect also differs significantly in appearance from the Volocopter’s previous aircraft, as unlike the Volocity and the VoloDrone, it is equipped with rigid wings and powered by two engines in addition to six rotors. Like Volocopter’s previous solutions, the Voloconnect is fully electric, which means it can fly over populated areas without making a noise that disturbs people. According to the manufacturer, the aircraft has been developed to European Aviation Safety Agency standards and is expected to be certified within five years.