German companies team up to explore flying robot taxis at Frankfurt Airport
Clean Energy Wire
Airport operator Fraport AG and German start-up Volocopter have announced plans to explore the use of autonomous flying taxis at Germany’s Frankfurt Airport. In a press release (in English), the companies said they were “developing concepts” for air taxi services to ferry passengers from local urban centers to Frankfurt Airport, one of Europe’s busiest air hubs. Startup Volocopter is currently testing electric-powered ‘multicopters’ that can take off vertically. “Based on drone technology, the Volocopter offers space for two people and is a suitable urban transport solution thanks to its quiet and zero-emissions flying,” the companies’ press release says.
According to a new “Urban Air Mobility” study by management consultancy Horvath & Partners, the first air taxis will be in operation in as little as five years’ time. “As early as 2025, air taxis will be carrying passengers in large cities on the first fixed routes,” predicts study author Daniel Guffarth. “Once the first pilot projects have proved successful, policymakers will be open to trial routes in Germany too.” The study argues that German carmakers’ reputation for quality and safety mean they have good prospects in the market for air taxis. Daimler is a major shareholder of Volocopter.