The Volocopter 2X air taxi vehicle is now the first electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) craft to fly at an international airport, fully integrated into the same airspace as other commercial passenger craft. It performed this key milestone flight at Helsinki International Airport, in a demonstration mission that showed it successfully integrated with both traditional air traffic management and air traffic management systems designed specifically for aircraft with no pilot on board controlling the vehicle manually.
The test is intended to show that air traffic management systems, which are designed for both traditional piloted flight and autonomous aircraft (including air robotaxis), can operate in concert with one another, even in areas with dense sky traffic — including over cities.
Volocopter, which recently unveiled a new version of its eVTOL, which it intends to be the version that goes into commercial service once it launches for paying customers, ran tests at Helsinki airport along with AirMap, Altitude Angel and Unifly, all providers of air traffic management services for unpiloted aerial craft. Through the test, they determined that the Volocopter systems work well with each provider, which is a key step toward gaining certification for commercial flight.
The German startup will be flying its 2X vehicle at an event in Stuttgart on September 14, but its next major milestone will be unveiling the new VoloCity commercial craft and its prototype VoloPort take-off and landing facility in Singapore later this year.