Drone taxi take first spin in air traffic near Paris
An electric helicopter with multiple rotors took its first flight in conventional air traffic near Paris on Thursday as it prepares for commercial flights from 2024, News.Az reports citing Reuters.
The Volocopter test aircraft, which resembles a large drone with eight rotors, took off with a passenger on board from the Pontoise-Cormeilles airfield outside Paris and briefly circled around while other aircraft were in the vicinity.
German company Volocopter CEO Dirk Hoke said that in the next 18 months it will prepare its craft for certification and said he hopes to launch short commercial flights by 2024, when Paris holds the Summer Olympic Games.
The company wants its two-seater aircraft to eventually take to the skies fully automated, with only passengers aboard, but admits that a lot of work was still needed in terms of infrastructure, airspace integration and public acceptance.
Test pilot Paul Stone said that the craft's digital fly-by-wire system and multiple rotors make it much easier to fly than a traditional helicopter.