Flying taxis could soon take off in Singapore

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The Volocopter made a three-minute test flight over Marina Bay on Oct 22. The German firm behind it is currently in talks with the authorities to bring the air taxis to Singapore.
The Volocopter 2X performed its first piloted flight in a city centre at 12pm along the Marina Bay waterfront on Oct 22, 2019. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
The Volocopter 2X in the VoloPort. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Co-founder of Volocopter Alexander Zosel (left), and CEO of Volocopter Florian Reuter, pose in front of the Volocopter 2X in the VoloPort on Oct 22, 2019.

SINGAPORE - Some people may joke that we are not yet in the future because there are no flying cars.

But, within five years, taking a flying taxi between Marina Bay and Changi Airport could become a regular occurrence.

German aviation firm Volocopter held its first public test flight along the Marina Bay waterfront on Tuesday (Oct 22).

The three-minute flight was part of the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress 2019, which runs till Oct 25 at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Volocopter chief executive Florian Reuter said public flight trials will follow soon, pending regulatory approval by the authorities.

Though the Volocopter can be flown unmanned, initial flights will have a pilot on board.

Singapore's safe transport regulations was a reason why the Republic was among the few cities being considered to operate commercial services, Mr Reuter said.

"Singapore is also regarded by many other cities as a good example to follow when it comes to the adoption of new technologies," he added.

VoloPort - the first full-scale prototype of a passenger air taxi vertiport - was also unveiled at The Float at Marina Bay. It was developed by Volocopter and British firm Skyports.

A VoloPort with a single landing pad can accommodate 10 to 15 flights per hour.

In theory, checking in and security screenings will be fuss free with the use of biometric facial recognition scans.

Managing director of Skyports Duncan Walker said that possible locations being considered for future VoloPorts include parking lots, buildings, and being integrated with other public transport nodes.

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