Volocopter 2X Autonomous Aerial Taxi


The world of city travel seems to in for some massive changes very soon and Dubai officials say they want theirs to become the world’s smartest city. A project certain to help reach that goal is developing a fleet of autonomous vehicles to handle a quarter of all passenger transport by 2030.

Ignoring critics who scoffed at the claim earlier this year that the German-designed Volocopter 2X, recently renamed the Autonomous Aerial Taxi (AAT), would begin testing a two-place vehicle in Dubai this year, the government of that Middle Eastern city released a video shot during the first flight of the electric aircraft.

The short flight conducted without passengers near the Jumeirah Beach Park was attended by Dubai’s Crown Prince HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The successful flight kicked off a testing regime expected to consume another five years before regular AAT service is expected to begin.

The testing period in Dubai will also allow time to develop laws and policies governing certification of the aircraft and AAT operations, defining aerial routes and corridors, designing and locating take-off and landing points. Standards for official operators of AAT services in Dubai will also be created, as will identifying the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, while specifying security and safety standards for service.

The Volocopter tested in Dubai was powered by 18 individual rotors that offer a 30-minute range at 60 mph without the need for a battery recharge. A spokesman for Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority said the “AAT is also fitted with optional emergency parachutes, nine independent battery systems, a battery quick-charge and plug-in system, which takes two hours to reach full charge in the prototype version, a time that will be significantly reduced in the production version.”

For the first time in our history more people are living in urban than rural areas. At the same time we all want to be increasingly mobile. This tendency will drive contemporary models of mobility to their limits - even autonomous vehicles cannot compensate the steadily growing requirement for transport solutions. Mobility for the future must therefore tread new paths to find solutions. The Volocopter constitutes one of these solutions. Using its own hubs it connects vital intersections like airports or business parks with city centers. The autonomous Volocopters, taking off every minute, relieve the strain on particularly congestion-prone areas like bridges, tunnels, ring roads or feeder roads and are much cheaper to operate than conventional aerial mobility alternatives.

TECHNICAL FEATURES

General

Classification: VTOL (vertical take-off and landing); rotary wing aircraft

Certification: Light sport multicopter; German ultralight (UL)

Power type:Electric/batteries

Passenger capacity: 2 pax

Performance

Max take off mass (MTOM)450 kg

Max. payload: 160 kg

Operating weight empty (OWE);290 kg

Max. range (@ MTOM)1: 27 km (17 mi) at an optimal ́range ́ cruise speed of 70 km/h (43 mph)

Max. flight time (@ MTOM)1: 27 min at an optimal ́flight time ́ cruise speed of 50 km/h (31 mph)

Max. airspeed (limited time): 100 km/h

Rate of climb (@ MTOM): 3 m/s

Rate of descent: 2,5 m/s

Altitude (service ceiling): ≥ 2.000 m AMSL

Altitude (hovering): ≥ 1.650 m AMSL

Noise level: 65 dB(A) at 75 m

Safety & redundancy concept: Full aircraft emergency parachute- Multiple redundancy in all critical components such as propellers,motors, power source, electronics, flight control, displays - Highly reliable communication network between devices through meshed polymer optic fiber network (fly-by-light)

Structures

Composition/structure: Fibre composites; lightweight construction

Overall height: 2,15 m

Rotor plane: 6 hub-arms; 1 holm and 3 engine heads per hub-arm

Diameter of the rotor rim incl. propellers: 9,15 m

Diameter of the rotor rim excl. propellers: 7,35 m

Diameter of a single propeller: 1,80 m

Cockpit: 3,20 m length / 1,25 m width / 1,21 m height

Skids: 3,02 m lenght / 2,06 m width

Powertrain

a) Power supply & battery

Number of battery packs: 9 independent battery systems with quick release

Battery type: Lithium-ion battery

Power supply: 9 batteries supply 2 motors each

Max. charging time: < 120 min

Fast charging time: < 40 min

Battery changing system: Quick-change system; plug-in system

Battery cooling: Active air cooling

b) Motors & rotors

Number of motors & rotors: 18 each

Engine type: 3-phase PM synchronous motor, brushless DC electric motor (BLDC)

5 Flight control system Elements

1 triple redundant primary flight control unit

1 dissimilar backup flight control unit

1 joystick (includes friction clutch to set cruise speed)

Sensors

Gyroscopes, acceleration sensors, magnetic field measurement sensors, manometers

Data network

Optical data transmission via polymer optical fibers

Options to control

Piloted, interactive one-hand control via joystick

Features

Continuous data recording, hundreds of times per second