German luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler is investing $30 million in German company Volocopter, so it can develop electric powered flying taxis. The fundraiser for Volocopter comes from a consortium that includes Daimler, technology investor Lukasz Gadowski, and a couple of other renowned investors.
This funds will be used to develop electric powered futuristic flying taxis called eVTOL. These aircrafts will be capable of vertical take-off and landing.
Volocopter’s flying taxi is scheduled to make its first public test flight in Dubai in the last quarter of the year. The company said this investment will speed up the development of the flying taxis and help conquer the market with upcoming products. The company also states the aircraft is developing safe, quiet, and environmental friendly features.
By the end of 2017, Dubai plans to start a trial run of the world’s first ever unmanned aerial taxi service which officials say will soar over the city’s futuristic skyline at 60 miles per hour.
The electric Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will be in operation in Dubai in 2022, after a five-year period of testing by the Emirate’s Road Transport Authority and Civil Aviation Authority. The aviation authority will also develop regulations governing the transport system in the intervening time.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, is leading the project.
The project is part of a drive to make Dubai the world’s “smartest city.” One of the key goals is to improve integration between Dubai’s mass transit systems to make for faster and more innovative transportation.
Dubai aims to make 25 percent of its passenger transport systems automated by 2030.
“We now have the fantastic opportunity to develop and test the entire future ecosystem for safe, autonomous aircraft with the example of Dubai, together with the RTA,” Volocopter cofounder Alexander Zosel wrote in a press release.
Volocopter is also working towards the legal processes for obtaining government approval in the U.S. and Europe so it can launch its flying taxis there too. The company aims to change the way people commute and make it more futuristic.