Air taxi developer Volocopter starts eVTOL air taxi certification process in Japan

Volocopter eVTOL air taxi

German developer of electic vertical of takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL), Volocopter, has reenergized its longstanding activities in Japan by commencing the certification process of its VoloCity air taxi in the country, concurrent to similar work with three other regulatory bodies already under way.

Bruschal-based Volocopter said its application for type certification of its VoloCity eVTOL had been accepted by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), and repeated its intention to fly the air taxi during the 2025 EXPO Osaka Kansai. The development makes Japan the third nation outside the European Union in which the company has initiated the approval process with regulators. The others include collaboration in the US with the Federal Aviation Administration, and with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

Additionally, Volocopter is well into the certification process of the VoloCity with the European Union Aviation Safety Authority (EASA), whose all-clear of the eVTOL air taxi is expected in 2024. The company plans to launch passenger services the following year.

ReadJoby applies for UAM eVTOL aircraft certification in Japan

The news coincided with word Japan’s giant Sumitomo Corporation had agreed to take an investment stake in Volocopter for an undisclosed amount as part of the company’s Series E funding round. That, combined with the JCAB joining the group of regulators Volocopter is working with to coordinate the certification of its craft, marks another milestone for the company whose urban air mobility (UAM) activity in Japan dates to 2018.

To celebrate the news, Volocopter says it will display a non-flying model of the VoloCity air taxi at the popular Grand Front Osaka shopping mall in March, providing visitors a peek at the kind of eVTOL craft that will soon dot Japan’s skies.

“Committing to fly and enter a market is no small feat, but for Volocopter and Japan, who are both pioneers in the UAM space, it just makes sense,” said Volocopter CEO Christian Bauer. “Over the past few years, Volocopter has made significant progress toward becoming an integral part of the team that will bring UAM to life in Japan in 2025, thanks to partners like Sumitomo, EASA, and JCAB who share our vision. I cannot wait to see the public reaction to the VoloCity air taxi being unveiled in Osaka for the first time.”

Read: Volocopter eVTOL air taxis get $182 million lift toward certification

Seeking certification in several countries at once is not only a sign of Volocopter’s ambition to roll the VoloCity eVTOL out in many nations it can manage – and launch air taxi services as soon as it can.

It’s also an opportunity for regulators to work more closely together in an effort to both streamline their respective national authorization processes, and make those as similar as possible to facilitate the launch and scaling of next-generation aircraft services around the world.

“This is an important milestone in the development of relations between Japan and Europe in the field of new aviation technologies,” said EASA executive director Patrick Ky. “EASA is proud partnering with Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and support the development of the UAM industry in Japan and share with JCAB its experience with its SC-VTOL regulations in the certification process of VoloCity.”

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