The Consumer Electronics Show 2018 opened its doors today in Las Vegas, USA. CES 2018, the foremost global gathering event for all companies involved in consumer technologies and innovation, showcases drones this year as they seep into practically every known commercial and industrial market. Among them is Volocopter, the German Air Taxi company that is set to disrupt the public transport market in ways only previously imagined in sci-fi fiction.
The helicopter-like air taxi features 18 propellers, 9 batteries and is expected to be a commercial reality in five years’ time. Using Intel’s Sense and Avoidance system, it is able to see everything around it – a crucial piece of the Volocopter puzzle.
During his keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show at the Park Theater, Intel CEO Brian Krzanic came together with German Air Taxi company Volocopter today to become its very first passenger. “That was fantastic. That was the best flight I have ever had. Everybody will fly one of these someday.” said Krzanich after completing the flight.
“Autonomous Air Taxis are coming. Nothing shows our confidence better than taking a passenger aboard. We are happy it was Brian Krzanich of our strategic partner Intel” says Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, “Although the Volocopter might resemble a Helicopter, it really is a flying super computer creating a pleasant and safe ride.”
The flight was remotely piloted and took place in an exhibition hall in Germany in December 2017. Previous to this, the first public demonstration of the Volocopter was conducted in Dubai last September, 2017.
Featuring very stable and safe flight characteristics, the Volocopter is first and foremost intended as autonomous public taxi system for operation in megacities. The inbuilt Intel technology including flight control solutions with redundancy and safety features ensures smooth flight, enabled by dozens of microprocessors monitoring the environment for turbulences, winds, etc. and sending signals in milliseconds to the rotors. Despite a heavy power payload, the rechargeable, quick change battery system ensures pilots and passengers to not have to endure a lengthy recharge process.
“From when we performed our first manned flight in 2011, we knew that safety is what we are really offering,” says Alex Zosel, co-founder of Volocopter.