Frankfurt airport operator Fraport has announced it is partnering with German aviation startup Volocopter to work on an infrastructure to enable flying taxis to bring people to and from the airport in the future.
Fraport and Volocopter said that they’re exploring on how to integrate air taxis into the existing airport infrastructure at Frankfurt, using what it calls Volocopter Ports, that could link up with existing transportation nodes at the airport. One of Europe’s busiest air hubs, Frankfurt handled over 69 million passengers last year.
Volocopter, founded in 2012 and counting Daimler as one of its investors, is in the testing phase with its electric, vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) ‘multicopters.’ One of its autonomous air taxis made its first public test flight in Dubai in September 2017, and it most recently flew Intel CEO Brian Krzanich as its first passenger at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Flying taxis could be plying the urban skies in Germany within five years, according to a recent study by Horvath & Partners consultancy. It predicts that air taxis will be operating on fixed routes in big cities “as early as 2025.” They say that their surveys show that people have a higher acceptance of autonomous passenger drones than of self-driving cars.
Volocopter press spokesperson Helena Treeck told Yahoo Finance UK that they believe flying taxis will be operating even sooner than that.
“Autonomous flying will fundamentally change aviation in the years to come, Anke Giesen, Fraport executive board member for operations, said in a press release. “We want to be the first airport in Europe to harness the potential of electric air taxis in partnership with pioneer Volocopter.”