Volocopter-eye the launch of an electric helicopter is a taxi in Singapore

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – the German start-Volocopter said, Singapore is also emerging as one of the most likely places for the commercial roll-out of the electric helicopter, which he hopes to offer a short-hop flights for the price of a limousine ride.

FILE PHOTO: A prototype of an electric air-taxi, which takes off and lands vertically (eVTOLs), created by a German startup, the Volocopter flies during a demonstration lap in the Mercedes benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany, on September 14, 2019. REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo

The co-founder of the company, which, together with the Singapore authorities to supervise the implementation of the public test-flight in the coming months, he said, the city-state of Dubai, and Germany were the markets with the most open of the air-to-air taxis.

A number of companies are trying to bring the so-called air taxis, to the mass market, the lack of regulation and infrastructure, and safety and security have been proven to be barriers to overcome.

Volocopter, which counts Daimler, Intel, and Geely [GEELY.UL] among its supporters, has been targeted in a planned commercial roll-out in two or three years of his drone-like taxis that look similar to a small helicopter, powered by a 18 of the rotors.

“On the commercial routes, we have two customer channels: the first one is a business-to-customer, and so was the hotel, the business center of the city, or for tourists is to fly from Marina Bay to Sentosa, Alexander Zosel, told Reuters. Marina Bay is Singapore’s business and financial district and Sentosa is a popular island holiday.

Zosel said the startup is looking for financial partners in the funding round they plan to close in January by the year 2020.

The company has raised € 85 million ($93 million) to date, the most recent in a 50-million-euro tranche, led by the Chinese automaker Geely this year.

Daimler, Intel, and Geely each of which is about 10% of the company, a Daimler spokeswoman said.

Volocopter, says that it has clocked up more than 1,000 test flights, some run by people, and others are operated by remote control or autonomously on a pre-determined route.

Zosel said to be the first commercial aircraft to be operated, so there is room for only one passenger, but in five to 10 years, he hopes to transition to a fully autonomous flight.

This is one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of the testing of autonomous vehicles, and it plans to deploy a driverless buses in the three counties of the island by 2022.

However, with a number of strict rules for the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles, especially after the fact, it causes a series of airport delays this year, as well as a lack of helipads, it remains to be seen whether the Volocopter can fulfill its high aspirations for the city-state.

Reporting by John Geddie and Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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