Volocopter seeks approval for electric air taxis in US cities

Richard Weiss

German electric air-taxi startup Volocopter GmbH is seeking regulatory approval to operate its vertical takeoff craft in the U.S.

The Federal Aviation Administration is considering a type-certification application from Volocopter, opening up the possibility of flights in cities such as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington in the next two to three years, the company said in a statement Friday.

This image from Volocopter shows an electrically powered air taxi.

Volocopter plans to inaugurate commercial operations in Singapore by 2023, with tickets for 15-minute tourist flights already on sale for 300 euros ($360). The two-seat model, powered by multiple electric rotors, performed its first manned test in 2011 and has since completed more than 1,000 flights.

The company, whose backers include carmakers Daimler AG and Geely Automobile Holdings Limited, as well as logistics firm DB Schenker and the venture capital arm of chipmaker Intel Corp., is seeking FAA approval concurrent with an earlier application to the European Aviation Safety Agency, as well as Singaporean authorities.