UMG Idealab Indonesia, a venture capital subsidiary of UMG Myanmar, introduced publicly a short while ago a functional prototype of Frogs, a flying electric taxi that is built by one of the local startups that the venture capital firm has invested in. It is understood that the workable prototype flying taxi has already undergone several test flights before its public unveiling, and that the flights have all gone according to plan with no hiccups. According to Jefry Pratama, UMG Idealab venture and investment partner, the design for the functional preliminary version of the flying taxi is originally planned from a quadcopter drone base, and the prototype version has just been recently finished. The latest iteration of the prototype flying taxi features several key additions beyond the base quadcopter design, such as a practical cabin for passengers, as well as incorporating features that ensure safety, including a failsafe mechanism that prevents motor failure.
Frogs was conceived by the unnamed Yogyakarta-based tech startup to complement Indonesia’s transportation infrastructure network by offering an alternative mode of transport for the remote and more far-flung areas of the country. The flying electric taxi, which was developed and innovated over the course of two years, was built with the intention of fulfilling multiple roles in mind. For one, the airborne electric taxi is capable of assisting in disaster situations such as earthquakes and floods, which are natural occurrences in the world’s largest island country. As an airborne freight vehicle, it is quite capable of handling military grade equipment as well as normal cargo due to its design and structure. The main component used to build Frogs is carbon fiber, which is universally recognised for its low thermal expansion, high tensile strength, high temperature tolerance, low weight and high chemical resistance, which are all preferred qualities for vehicles and machines operating in disaster situations.
The prototype flying taxi had undergone several stringent checks and trials prior to its public unveiling. The electric taxi had been developed and built by the Indonesian tech startup with many in-built precautionary measures, for example a failsafe mechanism that prevents motor engine failure by enabling the engine’s motors to automatically assume control in case one part of the motors fails while in flight. Also, as mentioned previously, the structure of Frogs is built from durable, lightweight carbon fiber, which is particularly valued for its numerous benefits and features mentioned above. Jefry Pratama added that every piece and each part of the flying taxi had been thoroughly tested and vetted for in order to ensure maximum safety and to fulfill all safety requirements. The flying passenger drone’s successful test flights that were conducted thus far showed that all of the vehicle’s operating systems are aligned and functioning well.
Before its debut at the 2020 Hannover Messe technology exhibition in Germany in April, some final finishing touches to the prototype aircraft taxi will be done, such as some slight tweaks and alterations to its interior seating. Lastly, one final hurdle remains in the form of the country’s regulations before the flying taxi, which is completely designed and developed by a homegrown startup, can be commercialized for use. There is currently a distinct lack of any regulations or policies regarding the operation of flying electric vehicles in the country. For technological innovation and the country’s startup ecosystem’s sake, it is hoped that the nation’s policymakers will be supportive of the country’s first flying electric taxi, Frogs, which is made by a local homegrown startup.