Watch Three Autonomous Air Taxis Fly in Formation for the First Time

We love to see aircraft flying and maneuvering together with incredible precision during airshows. When it comes to all-electric VTOLs (vertical take-off and landing) with no pilot onboard, this would be more than a demonstration of skill. The three AutoFlight air taxis that flew in formation for the first time ever are revolutionizing an entire industry.
AutoFlight completed a world-first formation flight with three different prototypes of the Prosperity I 8 photos
Photo: AutoFlight
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AutoFlight is no stranger to world-firsts. In early 2022, it completed the first full-scale eVTOL transition flight, followed by the release of the first full-length video of an eVTOL flight in the summer of 2022. It made headlines with a record-breaking flight at the beginning of this year. Its prototype smashed the eVTOL flight record by covering 155 miles (250 km) on a single charge.

Just a few months later, AutoFlight is again breaking the norm—this time, with an industry-first formation flight. Three Prosperity I prototypes flew together with no pilot onboard during a stunning demonstration in Shanghai, China.

A remarkable detail is that the three air taxis represented three different generations of AutoFlight's flagship, the Prosperity I. Each full-scale aircraft flew at a different altitude and for a certain period of time. The earliest prototype only flew for 12 minutes, covering 28 km (17.3 miles) at an altitude of 80 meters (262 feet). The most recent prototype stayed in the air for 42 minutes. It reached an altitude of 120 meters (393 feet) and covered 120 km (74.5 miles).

The location of this historic breakthrough is due to the fact that AutoFlight has double headquarters. It operates in Augsburg, Germany, and Shanghai, China.

These milestone flights are paving the way for next year when the public will be able to admire Prosperity I in action. AutoFlight's aircraft is one of the eVTOLs scheduled to fly during the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The German-Chinese aircraft combines a fixed-wing design with optimized lifting propellers. Performance-wise, it pairs a 155-mile range (which it successfully confirmed during the February 2023 record-breaking flight) with a maximum speed that matches conventional helicopters (124 mph/200 kph).

Beyond the promising features and successful test flights, the AutoFlight ai taxi stands out due to its innovative, cool design. It was developed by an automotive superstar, the legendary Frank Stephenson, who worked with brands like BMW, Ferrari, and Ford.

While the German-Chinese manufacturer is gearing up for Prosperity I's official debut next year, there's still a long wait before entering commercial service. It plans to roll out a cargo version first, ready to start operating next year in Asia. The passenger version, however, will take a few more years to get to that point because of the lengthy certification process.

Thanks to its German and Chinese ties, AutoFlight has one of the greatest potentials for worldwide operations. It has already secured significant orders in both Europe and Asia, including a 200-unit order for an aviation operator in Singapore.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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