Volocopter GmbH was founded in 2011 in Karlsruhe, Germany, by Alexander Zosel and Stephen Wolf with the intent of making an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) multicopter aircraft for fast and efficient urban travel.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the first manned flight of an electric multicopter was the Volocopter VC1 prototype. The VC1 multicopter was flown by co-founder, primary designer, inventor and builder, Thomas Senkel on Oct. 21, 2011.
The Volocopter 2X is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) multicopter that is a refined version of the VC200, with a limited number of pre-production prototypes now under development for future sale.
The 2X is completely electric and quieter than the smallest helicopter by a factor of seven. It has six Y shaped struts emanating from its axle. The intersection of each Y has a vertical non-tilting propeller and 12 more are at the ends of the struts which is reinforced with a perimeter ring. These 18 propellers and 3-phase PM synchronous brushless DC electric motors are powered by nine batteries. The vehicle weighs 640 lb (290 kg) and can carry a two passenger payload of 350 lb (160 kg). It has demonstrated an endurance of 27 minutes of flight, for a range of 17 miles (27 km). It has a cruise speed of 55 kt (100 k/hr). It is 10.5 ft (3.2 m) long, 7 feet (2.15 m) high and has a tip-to-tip distance of 30 ft (9.15 m).
Autonomous flight is possible for the Volocopter 2X. The aircraft has a single joystick and was designed to be intuitive to fly. If the joystick is released automatic systems keep it in a stable position. Systems include fiber optic fly-by-wire. It also has an emergency ballistic parachute. The 2X is designed for urban mobility and Volocopter envisions units being reserved through the use of an app.
In 2016 it was the first multicopter given crewed flight certification. Its first uncrewed flight was in September 2017 and its first crewed flight in January 2018 allowing Volocopter to claim this as the world’s first 2-seat electric VTOL aircraft.
The program is supported by Intel’s Ascending Technologies, Daimler AG, DG Flugzeugbau GmbH and others. Volocopter announced in February 2020 that it had raised a total of €122 million (approx. $145M USD) since inception.
Volocopter will be manufacturing the aircraft, running the air taxi service, building Voloports, allow passengers to request a flight through an app, will not be selling their aircraft to individuals and will offer air taxi urban travel at competitive prices.
Volocopter stated in November 2019 that the VC1, VC2, VC200 and 2X prototypes have collectively made over 1,000 test flights, including in Dubai and Singapore.
For more information on Volocopter's production aircraft, please see the following aircraft pages:
Specifications (April 2017):
- Aircraft type: eVTOL multicopter
- First flight (uncrewed): September 2017
- First flight (crewed): January 2018
- Piloting: Pilot or autonomous
- Capacity: 2 passengers total (if there is a pilot, 1 pilot and 1 passenger)
- Cruise speed: 102 km/h (63 mph)
- Range: 27 km (17 m)
- Flight Time: 27 minutes
- Propellers: 18 propellers
- Electric Motors: 18 electric motors, 3-phase PM synchronous motor, brushless DC electric motor (BLDC)
- Power source: Batteries
- Maximum payload: 160 kg (350 lb)
- Empty weight: 290 kg (640 lb)
- Maximum gross weight: 450 kg (990 lb)
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Fuselage length: 3.2 m (10.5 ft)
- Overall height: 2.15 m (7 ft)
- Tip-to-tip distance: 9.15 m (30 ft)
- Windows: Large windows for spectacular views with a solid roof above the passenger compartment
- Landing gear: Skid-type landing gear
- Safety Features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft.
- Volocopter website
- Volocopter Facebook
- Volocopter Twitter
- Volocopter YouTube
- Volocopter Wikipedia
- Video: World's first manned flight with an electric multicopter, forschungsbuero, Oct. 28, 2011
- Article: The Demand for On-Demand Mobility, Vertiflite, January/February 2017
- Article: Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers, Vertiflite, March/April 2017
- Article: e-volo’s 2X Ready for Production, eVTOL News, May 2, 2017
- Video: Dubai's flying taxi – the volocopter – takes first flight, Esquire, Sept. 25, 2017
- Video: The Volocopter 2X. Mobility in the next dimension, Volocopter, Oct. 16, 2017
- Video: Volocopter’s flying taxi takes off at CES, The Verge, Jan. 8, 2018
- Video: 2018 CES: Intel CEO Brian Krzanich Takes a Volocopter Test, Intel Newsroom, Jan.8, 2018
- Article: Remote-piloted Volocopter eVTOL Flies Intel CEO, AIN Online, Jan. 9, 2018
- Article: Volocopter presents air taxi services at scale, Volocopter, Apr. 17, 2018
Article: Mobility of the Future: Fraport and Volocopter Are Developing Airport Infrastructure and Passenger Processes for Air Taxi Services, Volocopter, Feb. 12, 2019
- White Paper: Pioneering The Urban Air Taxi Revolution, 1.0, Volocopter, June 6, 2019
- Article: Volocopter Unveils VoloCity, Its First Production eVTOL, Aviation International News Online, Aug. 21, 2019
- Article: Volocopter reveals design for new Urban Air Mobility aircraft Volocity to become first commercial Volocopter aircraft, Volocopter, Aug. 21, 2019
- Article: Successful integration of piloted air taxi into Air Traffic Management / UTM system, Volocopter, Aug. 30, 2019
- Article: Stuttgart see first urban flight of Volocopter in Europe, Volocopter, Sept. 9, 2019
- Article: World’s First Full-Scale Air Taxi VoloPort Unveiled in Singapore, Volocopter, Oct. 21, 2019
- Article: DB Schenker invests as Volocopter extends Series C Round to € 87 million, Volocopter, Feb. 21, 2020