Several autonomous flying taxi projects have already demonstrated their technical viability. From Airbus to Uber, Cora and now Volocopter, we now have a pretty good idea of how this type of aircraft could work to transport one to two passengers on short urban routes. But where will these devices stand? How will their rotations and recharging of their batteries be ensured? All this is still very vague.
Volocopter decided to give us a good overview by sharing a video simulation showing the operation of a station called Volo-Hub installed on the roof of a building.
The concept resembles that of the cable car cabins, with drone taxis landing on a pad before sliding on a treadmill inside a hangar. The passengers disembark, then the aircraft continues its way to the service area where its battery pack is automatically exchanged by robots. It then goes to a parking area, ready for a new trip.
Thanks to this system of continuous rotation, Volocopter says it can take off and land a taxi drone every 30 seconds. To complement these large-scale stations, the German company has also imagined Volo-Port; small heliports installed near shops, hotels, large companies or railway stations.
Once scaled, flying will not be significantly more expensive than taking a taxi, but it will be significantly faster
The idea is to create a complementary network between the Volo-Hub and Volo-Port to cover the main city hotspots. The company believes that its first taxicab drones will be operational within a decade, offering a transport capacity of 100,000 people per hour.
Image © Volocopter