German automobile firm Daimler and other investors have has invested more than $29 million dollars (25 million euro) in aviation start-up Volocopter.
Volocopter plans to use the money to invest in further developing its electrically powered, autonomous Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft and ‘conquer’ the market for flying air taxis.
Volocopter’s ‘Volocopter 2X’ is a fully electric VTOL with 18 quiet rotors and a maximum airspeed of 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour – and it can transport two passengers without a pilot.
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The funding is being provided by Daimler, as well as technology investor Lukasz Gadowski from Berlin and other investors.
In addition to the funding news, Volocopter announced that in the fourth quarter of 2017, it will work with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) to conduct tests of its vehicle as an autonomous air taxi.
The trial operations and certification program is expected to continue for five years.
According to Volocopter, the aircraft has an average flight time of 27 minutes and has 9 independent lithium-ion battery pack systems.
The aircraft’s batteries have a maximum charging time of under 120 minutes, with a fast charging time of less than 40 minutes.
The aircraft has a communication network for safety and a an emergency parachute on board.
The company says that the aircraft is ‘especially quiet’ because all of its 18 rotors acoustically operate within a narrow frequency band.
According to the company, a Volocopter 2X within within 75 meters (246 feet) is as quiet as the smallest helicopter within 500 meters (1,640 feet) distance.