The Volocopter 2X, which is an autonomous passenger drone, lifted off on the stage at CES at the Park Theater of the Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas on Monday. This signifies that the so-called world’s first autonomous taxi could be of service in the U.S. in the coming days.
Volocopter was developed by a Germany-based company and launched in 2012. It has undergone test flights in Germany and Dubai in the past years. Dubai hopes for an autonomous flying taxi service in the coming decade or in the early 2020s.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich described the drone as “essentially a flying car.” He also became the very first passenger to board the aircraft in an exhibition hall in Germany last month. He said the flight was fantastic and considered it the best flight he has ever had. He added that everyone is going to fly with this drone someday, as noted by New Atlas.
Intel brought the Volocopter on stage at the Consumers Electronics Show (CES) 2018. It took off on stage inside a theater. It was a short flight and was tethered down to the ground safely. Intel has been collaborating with the German aviation startup as of this time. Meanwhile, it is only at CES that they are publicizing their partnership.
Jan Stumpf, the chief of architecture for Intel’s drone group, said that what Intel sees in this technology is an enabling of a whole new market with various segments and different partners. However, Volocopter is, of course, now their biggest and most important one, added Stumpf.
The Volocopter 2X could fly a maximum range of 17 miles with a speed of 70 km per hour. It has a maximum flight time of 27 minutes at a speed of 50 km per hour. It also has a maximum takeoff mass of about 450 kg with a maximum payload of 160 kg.
The drone is of lightweight construction and fiber composites. It is classified as rotary wing aircraft and has a passenger capacity of two pax. It is empowered by electric or batteries, which are of lithium-ion types and has a maximum charging time of 120 minutes, according to Volocopter.