The world’s first demonstration of a fully-operational hub for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles – such as air taxis and autonomous cargo drones – has been opened in the UK city of Coventry.
Air-One will operate in Coventry for at least one month and aims to provide a blueprint for more than 200 sites planned worldwide over the next five years.
It has been opened by Urban-Air Port, a UK-based developer of ground infrastructure for air taxis and autonomous delivery drones, which is backed by the UK Government and supported by US-based mobility service provider Supernal.
Air-One will demonstrate aircraft command and control, eVTOL charging, cargo loading for unmanned drones, and will host demonstrator flights. West Midlands Police and Skyfarer will be among the first to operate flights from the site, showcasing how Urban-Air Port’s vertiports can provide drone bases for “sky protection” and high-value cargo deliveries in the near future.
Flights of large cargo drones will also be demonstrated by UK-based drone developer, Malloy Aeronautics, which claims to be the first time a drone of this size has flown in such a dense and built-up urban environment.
Air-One seeks to demonstrate how purpose-built ground infrastructure can unlock the potential of AAM to decarbonise transport and cut air pollution and congestion, while providing seamless passenger journeys and deliveries.
“The opening of Air-One is a momentous moment – the starting gun for a new age of transport, an age of zero-emission, congestion-free travel between and within cities that will make people healthier, happier and more connected than ever before,” said Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban-Air Port. “Cars have roads. Trains have rails. Planes have airports. Now, eVTOLs have an Urban-Air Port.
“From design, through to fabrication and now into operation, Urban-Air Port has delivered Air-One in just 15 months, setting the standard for deployment globally and opening up a world of possibilities for rapid response air mobility.”
Air-One is a 1,700 square metre, prefabricated vertiport designed for both rapid assembly and disassembly. A central 17 metre diameter aircraft carrier serves as the final approach and take-off (Fato) platform in the centre of the structure to support the take-off and landing of eVTOL vehicles.
The interior is fully built out and allows the public to explore various passenger and operational zones, such as the passenger lounge, food, beverage and retail offerings, aircraft command and control centre, charging/refuelling and maintenance hangar and a dedicated cargo logistics hub and passenger processing and boarding zones.
On display inside Air-One is a full-sized model of Supernal’s initial concept vehicle, S-A1, as well as electric vehicles. Drone demonstrations will be conducted throughout Air-One’s stay in Coventry.
Urban-Air Port already has vertiports planned for London, and internationally in the United States (Los Angeles), Australia, South Korea, France, Germany, Scandinavia and South East Asia.
Acting as a single solution to support the uptake of zero-emissions transport, Air-One will also host charging infrastructure for other modes of electric transport, including electric vehicles from some of the world’s biggest and most well-known automotive brands, to seamlessly integrate low carbon transport.
A series of public engagement events at Air-One aims to bring future air mobility to life for the public and form part of Coventry’s City of Culture celebrations. Coventry University’s National Transport Design Centre, part of the research Centre for Future Transport and Cities, has played an important role in shaping Urban-Air Port’s customer journey through its user-centred design expertise.
As announced in October 2021, Urban-Air Port and the international business division of Munich Airport will also closely cooperate on the launch of Air-One.
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change at Coventry City Council, said: “This city has a proud history of transport innovation and that legacy lives on with the landmark opening of Air-One.
“By harnessing the potential of advanced air mobility systems, this facility has the potential to revolutionise transport for the better. It’s designed to reduce congestion which in turn will boost productivity while supporting climate change efforts by taking vehicles off the roads. “We led the industrial revolution here in Coventry and now, with inventive facilities like this, we are leading the green industrial revolution too.”
Source: IOT NETWORK NEWS