Intel Unveils Volocopter: A Flying Taxi Powered by Batteries
Picture courtesy: futurorus/ Instagram

We have always fascinated with the idea of flying cars. Wouldn’t it be cool to just pass through the sky in your own personal vehicle? Well, Intel has just got a little closer to this idea. At the Consumer Electronics Show 2018, on Monday Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich astonished everyone with a Volocopter, an autonomous drone which can accommodate two persons within. More than being a flying car, it is a passenger drone.  Intel brought it to the stage during the keynote address, looking like an air-taxi without a pilot.

"Imagine pulling out your phone, opening up a transportation app and summoning your own personalized ride by air taxi. That sci-fi vision of the future is actually much closer than you might think,” Krzanich said. This drone can have a 30-minute flight and cover a distance of 27 kilometers, powered by a battery. Volocopter VC200, as it is called comes with 18 rotors. Since it works on batteries it is emission-free as well. So, this flying car technology is not just sci-fi like it is also eco-friendly! The Volocopter is actually built by a German-based aviation company in 2012. Its first flight was in 2013 but those were the test flights and demos.

A very basic fear one would have is what if it comes down after you sit inside. So Intel is helping the company to build better redundancy into it so that it can stay afloat. It is very carefully designed- it has battery system split up into nine discrete packs, each for a pair of rotors so that the vehicle can still fly if one or two battery packs fail. The GPS and navigation systems are dual-redundant. There is also a parachute at the top of the Volocopter which will deploy, ensuring the safety of the passengers inside. They are using a kind of electric motor technology which will make the vehicle easier to fly.

The Volocopter is still to receive authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration. Only after that, it will be available to the American markets. We could actually expect the flying cars by 2020 then. Would not it be exciting to fly across in private air-taxis?