Volkswagen China unveils first flying passenger drone prototype
Volkswagen China has unveiled its first electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) passenger drone prototype. This prototype has been named the V. MO along with a nickname - Flying Tiger - due to its distinctive black and gold livery, which was painted to commemorate its launch in the year of the Tiger. In 2020, Volkswagen China launched a vertical mobility project to explore the possibilities of the urban air mobility market and extend its reach from urban traffic into airspace.
The prototype model is based on autonomous driving solutions and battery technology. It sports a luxury x-wing configuration of 11.2m in length and a span width of 10.6m. It also has eight rotors that will be used for vertical lift and two propellers that will be used for horizontal flight. The automaker said it will conduct multiple flight tests later this year in order to optimise the concept prototype and improve it until it undergoes further advanced test flights in late 2023. Volkswagen shared that in its final testing, the team is expecting the eVTOL would be able to carry four passengers including luggage over a distance of up to 200km.
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The CEO of Volkswagen Group China Dr Stephan Wollenstein shared that this project has been developed by a young team of Chinese experts from scratch who explored new design concepts and materials along with developing new safety standards during the making of this prototype. “The launch of this stunning validation model – the V.MO – is the first of many remarkable milestones on our exciting journey towards urban air travel, and a perfect example of our ‘From China, For China’ mission. 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 Wollenstein.
As urban air mobility is emerging rapidly in the mobility industry, the automaker is focusing on a rapid expansion of its local research and development and software expertise to work on this segment. As the vertical mobility project develops, Volkswagen Group China will work with the relevant Chinese authorities to achieve certification.