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India’s Bumble Bee “raises USD37 million from UK investors, eVTOL prototype launched in 2023”

OutlookIndia reports that Bumble Bee Flights has raised Rs 300 crore (USD37 million) in investment from UK-based technology conglomerate SRAM & MRAM Technologies and Resources Limited.

“The Bengaluru-based start-up claimed to be the first entity to design and develop India’s first autonomous Air Mobility Solution capable of human transportation with multiple use case scenarios such as air ambulance, air taxi, logistics, recreational use, defense applications, etc,” said the news outlet. “Founded by serial entrepreneur and air mobility solutions expert Arjun Das in early 2022, the company will use the funds to set up an assembly plant in Odisha for manufacturing air taxis under the Bee Flights brand.  It plans to launch the first prototype of these vehicles by April 2023, while the certified models will be available for production by 2024.

Bumble Bee Flights will design and manufacture its air taxis by partnering with operators around the world to service, support and run the operations. The first step would be obtaining a certification to operate in the US, UK, UAE, India and Singapore; Bee1 will be the first eVTOL from India certified in multiple countries and is intended for multiple use, according to press reports. “These include human transportation, air ambulance, air taxi and the logistics and supply chain sectors.

“Bee Flights air taxis would run on solar-charged swappable batteries and weigh around 300 kgs compared to traditional helicopters weighing over 1000 kgs,” say news reports. “It can carry one person with a suitcase and land on the rooftop of apartment complexes, unlike helicopters that need specific helipads.  These air taxis can fly for 20 minutes for a distance of 20 km.”

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