A German startup is making serious moves to make futuristic vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft a reality in a commercial setting.

VTOLs are exactly what they sound like: aircraft that can take off vertically without needing a runway. The German startup, E-volo, has been working on its VTOL since 2011. But new competitors have emerged recently including Uber, Airbus, and Zee.Aero, a startup funded by Google cofounder Larry Page.

E-Volo has finalized its multicopter, called the Volocopter 2X, and plans to begin trialing the aircraft in 2018 for a flying-taxi service. Here’s what you need to know:

The electric aircraft is designed to fit two and comes with 18 rotors, allowing it to fly through the air extremely quietly. It can take off and land vertically using a simple joystick.

The Volocopter 2X can recharge in 40 minutes using a fast charger.

 

And it can reach a top speed of 62 mph for a limited amount of time.

But it’s not a long-range vehicle. The VTOL is powered by nine batteries that allow it to fly for 17 minutes at a cruising speed of 43 mph.

A German startup is planning to test its futuristic aircraft for a flying-taxi service in 2018

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