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Electric multi-copter to take to the skies in Dubai this year
July 2, 2017, 4:01 pm

German aviation startup, Volocopter, just announced that it inked a deal with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) to begin testing a flying taxi service later this year, using its 18-rotor multi-copters. The news further cements the city’s reputation as a testing ground for some of the transportation world’s more futuristic and outlandish ideas.

Volocopter’s Dubai experiment is scheduled to start in the fourth-quarter of 2017, and is projected to last five years under the agreement with the RTA.

It was only earlier this year that the company revealed its first production model the Volocopter 2X at Europe’s largest general aviation trade fair. The 2X has a maximum range of 27 km when flying at a speed of 70kmph. Its maximum flight time is 27 minutes at an optimal cruise speed of 50kmph, but if range were no concern, the 2X can fly at a maximum speed of 100 kmph.

Volocopter will not be the only flying taxi service buzzing through Dubai’s airspace. RTA also recently struck a deal with the Chinese drone company Ehang to test its single-person quad-copter as a transit alternative. Uber is also in talks with the emirate city to publicly demonstrate its own flying taxi service in 2020. 

Dubai has a reputation as a testing ground for some the transportation world’s more futuristic and whacky ideas. The city is working with Los Angeles-based startup Hyperloop One to build the world’s first passenger-ready hyperloop to be ready in time for the emirate’s hosting of the 2020 World Expo.

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