If your sad-faced technology mantra is ‘we were promised flying cars and all we got were these shitty Internet trolls’ never fear, Berlin-based autonomous air mobility startup, Volocopter, wants to revive your sci-fi dreams.
It’s just kicked off presales for trips in its forthcoming electric air taxi service, VoloCity — albeit, there’s no date on when exactly (or where) the commercial service will fire up. But if you shell out for one of the 1,000 available pre-launch reservations — which it’s branding ‘VoloFirst’* — you’ll be able to look forward to a future flight of up to 15 minutes, within 12 months of the service’s commercial launch, whenever and wherever that will be.
“Services will start in 2-3 years,” a Volocopter spokeswoman told us. “Cities are not defined yet, as it is not clear which of the many cities we are in contact with for commercial start will make the race.”
The price for the limited edition joyride — which will include a video of your trip and a “limited edition, personalized certificate” — is €300 (~$355).
Volocopter notes that tickets can be reserved with a 10% deposit.
“Based on our public test flights and regulatory achievement record, we have paved the way to make electric flight in cities common in just a few years. With the start of reservations, we now invite our supporters and innovators around the world to join us and be amongst the first to experience this new and exciting form of mobility,” said Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter in a supporting statement.
“While the final certification for air taxis is still pending, we do have a detailed realistic timeline to launch commercial VoloCity flights in the next 2-3 years,” added Volocopter’s chief commercial officer, Christian Bauer, in another, further noting that VoloFirst ticket buyers will be able to get the latest updates on its progress and commercial launch plan.
Reservations for the VoloFirst flights are available via the Volocopter Reservation Platform.
The German startup undertook the first-ever manned flight of a purely electric multicopter back in 2011, and has gone on to demo numerous public flights with its full-scale aircraft — including public test flights at Singapore’s Marina Bay in October 2019 and the world’s first autonomous eVTOL flight in Dubai in 2017.
The company topped up its Series C funding round to $94M earlier this year, bringing its total raised to circa $132M.
It’s one of a number of flying taxi startups vying to get a commercial service off the ground. Others include EHang, Lilium and Airbus with its Vahana VTOL.
*Volocopter doesn’t guarantee ‘VoloFirst’ trip buyers will be the first public users of the air taxi service — rather it says these early birds will have “among the first” bragging rights