Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s the volocopter, the first manned, fully electric and safe vertical take off and landing (VTOL) aircraft in the world.
It might look like something out of a sci-fi movie based in a distant future, but this vehicle is being released in cities around the world next year.
The vehicle was one of the highlights from the Greentech festival, an event in Berlin designed to showcase the technology and possibilities of a greener future.
The festival is the brainchild of former Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg, who has turned away from the gas-guzzling life of an F1 driver to become an eco warrior.
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“It’s not in 10 years’ time, it’s at the end of next year that it will be commercialized,” Rosberg tells CNN’s Supercharged. “In places like Dubai, Singapore and Germany.
“It’s just phenomenal because this is going to revolutionize the way we move and it’s going to decongest cities as well because we can quite easily use the airspace much more.”
Taking off and landing vertically, the vehicle will offer a higher degree of safety, the German Volocopter company says, and will drop off and pick up passengers and swap batteries in ‘Volo-Hubs’ and ‘Volo-Ports.’
The volocopter is based on drone technology and the batteries will be swapped by robots before continuing each journey. It aims to carry 100,000 passengers per hour across the world within the next 10 years.
Emission-free and giving off almost no sound against the background noise of a city, the vehicle will initially be able to carry two people up to 27 kilometers.
“Of course there are some challenges remaining but the most fascinating aspect of it: It’s not just for the rich and wealthy because once it goes autonomous, it will cost only as much as a taxi costs nowadays,” Rosberg explains.
“So it will really be accessible to a lot of people and I think that’s the power of it. The future of greentech is that it’s coming now! And it’s not a compromise anymore, it’s not like you need to forfeit something.
“It’s cool, it’s sustainable, it’s most of the time even cheaper, so it’s here to stay and I really hope we all learn to embrace it because it’s very, very powerful and will have a great big impact.”