This futuristic "flying taxi" prototype just hit a milestone by becoming the first electric vertical take off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to carry over 550 pounds—the equivalent of a pilot and two passengers—on camera.
UK-based startup Vertical Aerospace began developing the so-called Seraph electric helicopter with the goal of making "air travel personal, on-demand and carbon-free." It can fly at up to 50 mph and will serve as a platform to test new technologies and systems that will be incorporated into a passenger model, due out next year.
"One year ago, we flew a full scale electric VTOL aircraft, the UK’s first. Today, we’re revealing flight footage of our second full scale prototype, the Seraph, an air taxi prototype capable of carrying 250 kilograms," said Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of Vertical Aerospace.
"Air travel is one of the worst contributors to climate change and among the slowest sectors to de-carbonize. Our mission at Vertical Aerospace is to make personal, on demand and carbon free flight a reality."
Given Vertical Aerospace's venerable collective credentials, there's no reason to believe that it won't succeed. The team behind the Seraph is comprised of 70 world-class engineers recruited from heavy-hitting vehicle manufacturers like Boeing, Rolls-Royce, and Jaguar Land Rover.
The company also just acquired MGI, an engineering firm that's built advanced Formula 1 and Formula E race cars for McLaren, Renault and Lotus, among others. Working with regulators, Vertical Aerospace aims to have certified passenger aircraft in the next three years and begin offering intercity air taxi services shortly thereafter.