Last Updated on 2021-01-13 , 2:04 pm
Wished that you can fly or teleport somewhere during rush hour? The future of transportation is coming soon.
Flying Taxi Might be a Reality in S’pore in the Next 3 Years
A German aviation start-up, Volocopter, announced on Wednesday (9 December) that they will be committed to launching air taxi services in Singapore. This came after two years of “collaborating” with our sunny island.
The emission-free aircraft takes off and lands vertically, and can accommodate two passengers per trip. Volocopter’s aircraft will fly passengers to their destinations directly and quietly.
The start-up is also in partnership with the Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).
Currently, they plan to launch air taxi services within the next three years.
They will build a team of 50 pilots, engineers, operation specialists and business managers in the next few years leading up to its official commercial operations. They are also expected to hire more than 200 full-time employees locally by 2026 to manage a network of local routes.
The firm has initiated research and development programmes with local institutions as well, including Fraunhofer Singapore at the Nanyang Technological University.
So, can we finally take an air taxi from Jurong to Pasir Ris?
Not quite yet.
The air taxi’s first route will likely be a touristic route covering the southern waters. This means that it will get a beautiful view of the Marina Bay skyline.
According to Volocopter, it could provide Singapore a new tourist attraction to enhance the tourism industry in Covid-19 times.
(P.S. By then, your tourism vouchers would’ve either rotten into digital waste or SingPass might be a chip within your brain stem le, so don’t think of using them for this trip.)
Following domestic trips, they may include cross-border flights. This could enhance Singapore’s connectivity and offer a significantly improved travel experience to economic centres near Singapore, Volocopter said.
In October 2019, Volocopter completed their air taxi demonstration over the Marina Bay area.
Future of Transport
In the years leading up to its official launch, Volocopter will be working together with CAAS and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to gain the necessary regulatory approvals.
Together with stake holders, they will also conduct comprehensive tests, flight trials, evaluations and certifications to gain approval for commercial air taxi operations.
In February this year, Volocopter has also partnered with the ride-hailing firm Grab. With this partnership, they conducted an air taxi experiment on the prospect of offering airborne rides in South-east Asia. The two companies will be looking at suitable cities and routes to deploy air taxi services.
According to The Verge, Volocopter aims to have dozens of Voloports, Volocopter’s launching pads, across Singapore by 2035. They also hope to increase its capacity to handle 10,000 passengers daily.
Their end goal is to get passengers at their destination quickly without any special infrastructure.
Grab is not the only company eyeing air taxis. Uber also said that they will be launching air taxi services in 2023 and are currently working with different partners to achieve that.
Maybe in the next few years, we’ll see the roads and skyline congested with futuristic vehicles to make travel more convenient.
But first, let’s just aim to convince the remaining half of all hawker stalls in Singapore accept cashless payments.
Featured Image: VDWimages / Shutterstock.com
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