Thanks to a partnership between Geely and German startup Volocopter, air taxis will apparently be coming to China in the near future so that we can live all of our Blade Runner hovercar dreams. Maybe.
Volocopter claims it’s got the world’s first manned, electric, and vertical takeoff air taxis, Reuters reports, and has secured funding from companies such as Geely and Daimler. A concrete number hasn’t been released, but Volocopter is said to have somewhere around 85 million euros (almost $94,000,000) in total capital.
Here’s more from the article:
Geely’s chairman Li Shufu said in the statement that the investment reflected how the Chinese company is transitioning to become a mobility technology group, investing in and developing a wide range of next-generation technologies.
The co-operation underlines “our confidence in Volocopter air taxis as the next ambitious step in our wider expansion in both electrification and new mobility services,” Li said.
The Volocopter itself honestly looks pretty badass—it’s like the future incarnate. I wouldn’t mind actually seeing these doing their thing, especially given the fact that they’re electrified and I guess hypothetically more sustainable than our standard taxis.
This isn’t Geely’s first time looking into the whole “flying” thing, either—company documents obtained by Reuters show the company is currently building a plant to make Terrafugia flying cars. Geely is obviously betting on flying being the mode of future transportation.
There is currently no set timeline for when we can expect flying taxis to actually take off in China, but with initial prototypes of the Volocopter already manufactured, the implication is that we’ll see these bad boys in the next few years.
Which always seems to be the case. All this cool, futuristic tech is perpetually just “a few years away.” Flying transportation has been in the works for ages, and we’re still not using it regularly. “A few years away” has turned into the code for “we definitely don’t even have a timeline to get like five of these built, let alone actually getting them on the road.”
That said, if anyone can make it happen, it’d be Geely and Daimler. We’ll just have to wait and see.