Coventry, UK, will be the site for a new electric eVTOL drone and air taxi hub set to launch later this year as part of an initiative to unlock the potential of sustainable urban air mobility.
Urban Air Port Air-One has been selected as a winner of the UK government’s Future Flight Challenge to develop aviation infrastructure and systems that enable the next generation of electric and autonomous air vehicles.
The site in Coventry, which is around 60% smaller than a traditional heliport, will be the first of around 200 hubs globally to be installed.
Urban Air Port develops fully autonomous innovative zero emission infrastructure for future air mobility. The ambitious Air-One project will bring industry, government and the public together to demonstrate how to unlock the potential of sustainable urban air mobility to reduce congestion, cut air pollution and holistically decarbonise transport while providing seamless passenger journeys and deliveries.
NASA predicts that urban-air mobility in the US alone could be worth up to $500 billion USD (£375 billion) in the near-term and states that a significant barrier to market growth is the lack of infrastructure, an issue which Urban Air Port was established to resolve.
The Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group has chosen Urban Air Port as its priority infrastructure partner to support the global growth of this new sector.
The South Korean company plans to create its own eVTOL aircraft and support the broader urban air mobility eco-system. Hyundai Motor Group is supporting the development of Air-One as part of its plan to commercialise its aircraft by 2028.
“Cars need roads. Trains need rails. Planes need airports. eVTOLs will need Urban Air Ports. Over a hundred years ago, the world’s first commercial flight took off, creating the modern connected world. Urban Air Port will improve connectivity across our cities, boost productivity and help the UK to take the lead in a whole new clean global economy,” said Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban Air Port.
Pamela Cohn, COO for the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group, said:“As we advance our eVTOL aircraft programme, development of supporting infrastructure is imperative. Air-One is a unique project that is set to help lead the way in developing a robust, accessible and intermodal infrastructure network for future mobility. We are excited to be part of this partnership in the UK, and look forward to working together to create community impact and opportunity through safe, affordable, and human-centred mobility solutions.”
Urban Air Port provides an integrated approach to the decarbonisation of cities. It is designed to support any eVTOL aircraft and complements other modes of sustainable transport as a hub for electric vehicles, buses or scooters.
The design enables Urban Air Ports to be easily moved to alternative sites, as the air-mobility sector develops. This design also means the sites are ideal for disaster emergency management. Urban Air Ports can rapidly deploy drones and other eVTOL to collect and transport emergency supplies, equipment and people where needed.
Urban Air Port has been awarded a £1.2 million grant from UK Research and Innovation’s Future Flight Challenge. The programme is funded by £125 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and is expected to be matched by up to £175 million from industry.