Tech Transformers

An 18-rotor flying taxi could take to the skies in 2018

Flying taxis could be whizzing over your head as early as next year.

German start-up E-Volo showed off its Volocopter 2X this week and said it's aiming to test the flying machine in taxi pilot projects in 2018.

E-Volo's Volocopter 2X

The Volocopter is an 18-rotor electric cross between a drone and helicopter. It has two seats and a joystick controlled by a pilot. The batteries in the aircraft are rechargeable and can be replaced.

E-Volo said the Volocopter 2X has been developed for approval by German authorities and anyone with a particular license will be able to fly one. By 2018, the first Volocopter 2X models with a "special permit" are set to be used as flying taxis in pilot projects, E-Volo claimed in a press release without giving further details.

The company has not responded to a request for further details when contacted by CNBC.

E-Volo is attempting to obtain a commercial registration for its aircraft to allow the transportation of passengers. The company said that developing a 4-seater Volocopter with the hope of getting it approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority and the European Aviation Safety Agency.

The interior of the E-Volo Volocopter 2X

Last year, Pang Kin Keong, permanent secretary at Singapore's Ministry of Transport, said the country would have flying taxis by 2030 and that it was in talks with several firms about doing this. E-Volo's Volocopter was one of the potential solutions flagged.

Vehicles like the Volocopter are key because of their vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities meaning they can take to the skies and land again in a small space, which would be useful in busy cities.

E-Volo is not the only company developing flying VTOL taxis. China's Ehang has developed a quadcopter that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government said would be flying around Dubai this year. Airbus is also developing a driverless flying taxi that could be tested this year, while other firms such as Uber are also looking into the technology.