The promise of flying cars has been replaced with the vision of autonomous drones.
Neither one is a reality at the moment, but Volocopter is determined to make the latter come to fruition. With the backing of Daimler, it at least has the resources available to work out a way to bring such a concept to market. One of the major hurdles, however, is an infrastructure that's not yet geared toward automated electronic drone passenger transport.
According to Volocopter, the initial flight path toward autonomous drone conveyance revolves around short hops and urban environments. We're talking about a direct flight from a downtown Volocopter hub to a major airport that's less than 20 miles away. These hubs would sit atop skyscrapers and serve as the jumping on and off point for a trip on Volocopter's 2X drone.
This is an all-electric 18-rotor helicopter-like machine that would boast a range of a little under 20 miles. The cruising speed would be around 43 mph. That's what the battery tech would have in store should a Volocopter 2X come to market today. But it won't because the company only sees its first prototype transport hub coming together in a year or so, according to The Verge. The timeline for actual hubs getting up and running is closer to a decade .
If Volocopter can produce a hub though, it would come packing a garage area for a pack of copters. There would be an armada of swappable battery packs on hand. A conveyor system would bring the copters in and out of the hub before and after flights. This system would be a unique and forward thinking drone transport station that definitely conjures up science-fiction fantasy scenes in our head.
Hopefully these are more "Star Trek" utopia and less Philip K. Dick dystopia.