Nowadays everybody should be familiar with cameras that float through the air on drones. But what if oversized electric drones suddenly transport us humans or cargoes from A to B and do so autonomously? Sounds like science fiction? The commitment of the Lab1886, the Daimler Group’s innovation hotbed, with the start-up company Volocopter, demonstrates what it means to leave conventional paths and explore new ways of mobility. A fully electric propulsion system consisting of 18 rotors keeps the prototype Volocopter 2X in the air. The flying drone is intended to be manned for the transport of passengers as well as unmanned for the transport of goods.
As an “Urban Air Taxi”, the Volocopter is to become the vertical alternative of current urban mobility in cities and will take up to two people to their destination emission-free, low-noise and, in the medium term, fully automated. As our streets become more and more crowded, the airways are also traversed within cities. Forecasts give a clear picture: the demand for individual mobility in urban areas will continue to increase in the future as urbanization continues and the extremely high costs for infrastructure on land is already pushing cities to their limits today.
We want to make every human being’s dream of flying possible and help modern cities to solve their growing mobility problems.
The demand for individual mobility in urban areas will continue to increase in the future as a result of constant urbanization and in addition, the extremely high cost of the corresponding infrastructure on land is already pushing cities to their limits. The vision of the Volocopter’s developers: “Social challenges of this magnitude sometimes require a new perspective. In our case: the view into the third dimension. We want to make every human being’s dream of flying possible and help modern cities to solve their growing mobility problems”. So will we all be flying home with a drone taxi after visiting a restaurant in the future? With the Volocopter this could be possible very soon.
But what fuels the “third dimension of mobility” besides increasing urbanisation? The significant technological progress made in recent years in the areas of connectivity, sensor technology, battery technology and the emergence of the drone as such should be mentioned here, which is the only way to make this form of inner-city autonomous on-demand air traffic possible in the first place.
After the Volocopter was presented for the first time on the grand stage of the International Motor Show (IAA) in September 2017, it caused a sensation, the first city has already carried out tests and wants to introduce the Volocopter as a flying taxi: Dubai. The city in the United Arab Emirates, which is known for its extremes, could thus become a world leader in innovative mobility solutions.
The Volocopter has thus demonstrated the potential to take new mobility concepts from Mercedes-Benz – such as “Vans & Drones” – to a new level. The ambitious project also proves that the “Think & Act Tank” Lab1886, which was launched in 2007, develops promising ideas. The focus of Lab1886 is the targeted promotion of not only external investments, such as in the case of Volocopter, but also ideas from its own ranks. “By transforming into Lab1886, we are creating a new space in which our
internal visionary minds, departments and business units can produce first-class innovations at a high rate, ” says Susanne Hahn, head of Lab1886. ” We are goal-oriented, professional and act with an inspiring team spirit to develop new solutions for the mobility of the future”.