Volkswagen China's eVTOL prototype will fly over a distance of up to 120 miles without a pilot

The company calls it a "passenger drone."
Can Emir
Volkswagen China's Flying TigerVolkswagen
  • Volkswagen Group China unveils the first eVTOL passenger drone prototype – the V.MO.
  • The fully automated eVTOL will be able to carry four passengers plus luggage over a distance of up to 120 miles.
  • CEO Wöllenstein: "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."

As we recently celebrated George Jetson’s birth, electric-powered vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles are being developed and aiming to emerge in the markets.

German luxury carmaker Volkswagen’s China branch, Volkswagen Group China, unveiled its first eVTOL passenger drone prototype recently.

The company previously announced that it wants to go fully electric in Europe by 2035, then later in the United States and China; a board member was quoted by Reuters in 2021.

The carmaker also strategizes to explore and break new ground in fully electric and sustainable individual mobility concepts. In 2020, Volkswagen Group China launched a Vertical Mobility project to explore the next generation of mobility solutions, including the urban air mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace.

After intensive research, conceptual work, and development, Volkswagen has developed its first validation model – the V.MO.

Due to its distinctive black and gold livery, which was painted to commemorate its launch in the Year of the Tiger, the initial prototype of the eVTOL has been nicknamed the ‘Flying Tiger.’

Flying Tiger is around 37 feet (11.2 meters) long by 35 feet (10.6 meters) wide and can carry four passengers plus luggage over a distance of up to 120 miles (200 km) without a pilot when complete, according to VW.

The prototype features eight rotors for vertical lift and two propellers for horizontal flight.

Volkswagen Group China will conduct several flight tests later this year to optimize the concept, and an improved prototype will undergo further advanced test flights by late summer 2023, according to the company.

The mind child of three companies

The Flying Tiger was created via a partnership between VW China, UK design firm tangerine, and Chinese aviation manufacturer Sunward.

Volkswagen China's eVTOL prototype will fly over a distance of up to 120 miles without a pilot
Volkswagen's Flying Tiger
Source : Volkswagen

Dr. Stephan Wöllenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China, said, “Through this pilot project, we are bringing Volkswagen’s long tradition of precision engineering, design, and innovation to the next level, by developing a premium product that will serve the vertical mobility needs of our future tech-savvy Chinese customers. 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.”

eVTOLs can transport passengers more quickly and efficiently than current conventional terrestrial transport and with greater flexibility. As the Vertical Mobility project develops, Volkswagen Group China will work with the relevant Chinese authorities to achieve certification.

The competition in the flying vehicle market is getting fiercer day by day, as many start-ups and companies are developing their eVTOLs.

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