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Volocopter shows us its production-intent flying taxi

Lots of companies think VTOLs are the future, even though the process still feels a tad inefficient.

Vertical take-off and landing machines: So many companies have started to pour an incredible number of resources into these contraptions with the big bet that these "flying taxis" will be the next big thing in personal transportation. Volocopter is one of many vying for a piece of the potential future industry, and this is its near-production-ready Volocity.

The startup company published the tour of its vehicle on Friday featuring the firm's Chief Commercial Officer, Christian Bauer, as he walks us through some of the technology, safety and comforts the Volocity promises its riders. Volocopter thinks it'll be first to market for this kind of electric VTOL machine and Bauer confirms in the video the contraption follows all European Aviation Safety Authority.

On the safety front, the Volocity features 18 rotors to power passengers to their destination, and Bauer stresses that the built-in redundancies allow for the VTOL to lose one or two of the rotors. If they putter out, the vehicle can still complete its flight with no issues. The same can be said for the battery packs, which Bauer also says are totally capable of operating even if up to two of them run out of juice. There are nine of them altogether, though we don't have specifics on their makeup yet. All we know is these are lithium-ion batteries that may be swapped out and provide enough juice to go 22 miles. Yes, just 22 miles. Max airspeed is about 68 mph. VTOLs, at least to start, are not intended to go very far. Instead, most companies imagine them as quick puddle jumpers to get around areas of a city more quickly than sitting in traffic. That's the goal, at least.

To start, Volocopter plans to have a piloted version, which trained professionals will operate. Eventually, it promises totally autonomous aircraft with cameras to handle all the maneuvers necessary. We're still a long way out from totally autonomous cars, so it's safe to say completely autonomous aircraft are just as far away. At any rate, have a look at the Volocity in late-prototype form above.

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