Flying Tiger: Volkswagen unveils a eVTOL flying taxi

Arushi Sakhuja
We live in a world where traffic ties us up, and driving around town seems more like a chore. Given the ever-increasing traffic, it’s only natural to hope for a faster mode of transport — air travel. Owing the demand that already exists for them, Volkswagen China (the German car brand’s Chinese division) has decided to switch gears and start building flying taxis. German automobile company Volkswagen recently announced a new flying taxi, Flying Tiger, which is a fully autonomous passenger drone (eVTOL) and can accommodate up to four people.  
Volkswagen VMO
Photo Courtesy: Volkswagen
This is the first time that Volkswagen has ventured into aircraft design. Officially called V.MO but popularly called the Flying Tiger due to its black and gold coloured body, the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) prototype looks similar to a helicopter, with eight rotors fixed upwards, to allow the aircraft to take off and land vertically. 
In the recent past, there have been many conversations around the Vertical Mobility project and multiple automobile brands like Rolls-Royce, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai have also recently announced plans to work on new air mobility projects. The project aims to create an autonomous electric aircraft that could eventually carry four passengers and their luggage up to 120 miles (200 km) without a pilot. Earlier this month, Volkswagen Group China unveiled its passenger eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing craft) prototype for use as air taxis in cities. 
Volkswagen VMO
Photo Courtesy: eVTOL
Specifications
The first eVTOL prototype is named the Flying Tiger since it was launched in the Year of the Tiger. With a black and gold body, the Flying Tiger is around 37 feet long by 35 feet wide. It sports eight rotors for vertical lift and two rear propellers for horizontal flight. Volkswagen also said that the production version is planned to have a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). The company stated that it will develop an autonomous aircraft that could also be flown by a pilot, according to the requirements of the customer. 
Volkswagen VMO
Photo Courtesy: eVTOL
“This is a pioneering project which our young team of Chinese experts started from scratch — they are working with new design concepts and materials while developing new safety standards, disrupting and innovating every step of the way. The launch of this stunning validation model — the V.MO — is the first of many remarkable milestones on our exciting journey toward urban air travel. Our long-term aim is to industrialize this concept and, like a ‘Flying Tiger,’ break new ground in this emerging and fast-evolving new mobility market,” said Stephan Wöllenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China in an official statement.  
Volkswagen VMO
Photo Courtesy: eVTOL
The prototype concept is based on existing autonomous driving solutions and battery technology for emission-free mobility. However, it is only by late 2023 that an improved prototype will undergo further advanced test flights. 
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