The promise of flying cars has become a thought more synonymous with the tech world’s weaknesses than its thrilling potential; however, today one of many startups that has been focused on trying to make small, airborne vehicles a reality is declaring a fundraise and says it’s on track for a commercial launch in two to three years.
Volocopter, which has been making drone-like autonomous electric flying taxis for its own city commercial passenger transportation service — the most recent model is its two-passenger VoloCity declared earlier this summer — has shut €50 million ($55 million) in funding guided by Zhejiang Geely Holding, the Chinese automotive firm that owns Volvo, Lotus and a number of different car manufacturers. There are also plans for an additional significant tranche of money underway, likely to be closed shut this year.
In this newest round, Geely is funding alongside other unnamed new and existing traders in the Bruchsal, Germany-based firm. Previous supporters include Intel and Daimler, the German car titan that owns Mercedes and several different manufacturers.
Rene Griemens, Volocopter’s CFO, said in an interview that the German firm intends to use the funding to continue working on its taxi R&D; fulfilling safety and other regulatory standards for its small taxi vessels, and working different upcoming models like those that can transport cargo.
Indeed, a part of this most recent investment is paving the way for future enterprise. Geely and Volocopter will be engaged on a joint venture to launch the Volocopter and its “Urban Air Mobility” concept in China.