The world’s first passenger-drone services may launch in Asia, as European companies are working to introduce the technology of flying taxis.
Volocopter GmbH of Germany, backed by Intel Corp. and Daimler AG, in collaboration with U.K. developer Skyports, will open “Volo-Port” landing facility in Singapore later this year for trial flights, after performing test flights in Dubai and Las Vegas.
“The facility in the city state will be accessible and convenient,” Chief Executive Officer Florian Reuter stated.
In addition, Austria’s FACC AG is working to produce hundreds of passenger drones and to help lighten its Chinese partner EHang Inc’s 216 drone by at least 15% (or about 60 kilograms) so as to improve its speed and range by the end of next year.
EHang, which has already logged 7,000 flight hours with prototypes, sells the 216 drone for 300,000 euros.
The drone can currently fly for 70 kilometers at speeds of up to 160 kilometers an hour. It could carry tourists, serve offshore oil platforms and provide support flights after natural disasters. The seating area could also carry cargo.