A Volocopter unmanned, electric air taxi took to the skies over Singapore’s Marina Bay during a test flight this week at the 26th Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress (ITSWC).
Developed by German firm Volocopter, the 18-propeller, two-seater vehicle flew around the Marina Bay district for nearly two and half minutes with a safety pilot onboard.
The company is hoping the air taxi will help solve massive traffic woes in many Asian cities.
Resembling small helicopters, the aircraft are powered by drone-like technology and can fly autonomously.
So far, Volocopter has already tested the aircraft in Dubai, Helsinki, Germany and Las Vegas, but the Singapore trial is the first in the heart of a city.
Singapore looks set to be among the first to get the service, with a commercial rollout expected in two to four years, followed by other Asian cities, according to an AFP report.
“We generally consider Asia to be a huge opportunity to benefit from this new technology, and we intend to have a strong presence in Asia starting here in Singapore,” says Volocopter chief executive Florian Reuter.
The company wants to bring the service to traffic-choked cities like Jakarta, Manila and Bangkok, as well as parts of India and China.
Volocopter plans to partner with automaker Geely in China, which owns a stake in the German company, to mass-produce the air taxis for the Chinese market, Reuter said.