German aircraft manufacturer Volocopter is considering Singapore as one of the most likely venues for the commercial launch of its air taxi, Automotive News Europe reports. This, along with Dubai and Germany are the markets most receptive to its air taxis, the company said, and is working with Singapore regulators to conduct a public test flight in the city-state in the coming months.

Backed by Geely and Daimler, Volocopter is planning for the commercial roll-out of its air taxis in two to three years. The company sees two customer profiles for its air taxis; one being business customers who may travel from the airport to the business centre, or tourists travelling between Marina bay and Sentosa island, said co-founder Alexander Zosel.

The company has raised 85 million euros (RM388 million) so far, and is looking for more financial partners in a funding round that it plans to close in January. Stakeholders Daimler, Intel and Geely each own around 10% of Volocopter, a Daimler spokesperson told Automotive News Europe.

Volocopter conducted its first urban flight of the VoloCity two-seater air taxi in Europe last month in order to examine the social acceptance of air taxis, while over 1,000 test flights have been conducted; some flights were piloted by humans, with others flown either by remote control or autonomously on pre-determined routes.

The commercial flights will initially be manually piloted, leaving room for just one passenger, but the company hopes to transition towards fully autonomous flying in five to 10 years, said Zosel. The vehicle used is the VoloCity which is a two-seat air taxi with an operating weight of 700 kg and maximum take-off weight of 900 kg, including a payload of 200 kg.

Nine lithium-ion battery packs power 18 electric motors with one rotor for each, offering a range of 35 km and a maximum air speed of 110 km/h. The battery packs can be swapped out in five minutes for freshly charged ones, minimising downtime.