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Flying Taxi Takes Off in Japan; Readied for World Expo

The VoloCity air taxi flew over the course of a week in the cities of Osaka and Amagasaki

Chuck Martin

December 13, 2023

2 Min Read
Volocopter 2X at Osaka Heliport.
Volocopter

A German eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle developer has completed several days of crewed test flights in Japan.

The VoloCity air taxi from Volocopter was flown over the course of a week in the cities of Osaka and Amagasaki in preparation for the 2025 World Exposition, Osaka Kansai Expo.

Volocopter plans to fly at the international exhibition with its commercial air taxi.

The flight tests in Japan were to test electric aerial vehicle (EAV) operations under conditions like what is expected during the Expo and to accelerate public awareness of eVTOL vehicles in Japan.

The final flight test day event was co-hosted by Sumitomo Corporation, Volocopter’s strategic partner and investor in Japan.

Volocopter has been focused on Japan since 2018 when the country became one of the first to announce its commitment to urban air mobility.

“As a novel technology, public awareness of eVTOLs and the creation of the UAM ecosystem are where we need to focus for Japan,” said Christian Bauer, managing director of Volocopter. “Volocopter and partners are preparing early for the 2025 Expo to have the advanced know-how to operate our eVTOLs seamlessly when the time comes.”

Volocopter has received multiple grants in Japan to conduct classroom studies on eVTOLs for school children in Osaka.

Related:Flying Taxi Takes Off at Tampa Airport

The VoloCity air taxi recently was rolled out in front of a crowd of media and invited guests at Sheltair Aviation at Tampa International Airport in Florida.

A pilot in the two-seater vehicle with 18 rotors took off straight up, cruised around the airfield and even made a nose-down nod to the crowd before landing to applause from airport personnel.

The VoloCity is one of several Volocopter prototypes. The vehicle appeared in Las Vegas and Dallas before Tampa.

The VoloCity also spent time at Tampa airport testing with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ahead of its flight there.

The battery-powered EAV is expected to travel at speeds up to 68 mph with a takeoff capacity of 2,000 pounds.

As in typical eVTOLs, the Volocopter air taxi has redundant systems.

Volocopter expects to be certified by EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) in Europe next year.

The final production model is expected to be slightly larger than the prototype but still be a two-person vehicle. 

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About the Author(s)

Chuck Martin

Editorial Director AI & IoT

Chuck Martin, a New York Times Business Bestselling author, futurist and columnist, is Editorial Director at Informa Tech, home of AI Business, IoT World Today and Enter Quantum. Martin has been a leader in emerging digital technologies for more than two decades. He is considered one of the foremost emerging technology experts in the world and his latest book is titled "Flying Vehicles" (The Emergence of Personal Air Travel, Flying Cars, and Air Taxis). He also is the author of "Digital Transformation 3.0" (The New Business-to-Consumer Connections of The Internet of Things).  He hosts a worldwide podcast titled “The Voices of the Internet of Things with Chuck Martin,” where he converses with top executives from the companies driving the adoption of emerging technology.

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