Urban-Air Port, a UK-based developer of ground infrastructure for air taxis and other innovative autonomous cargo drones, has opened the world’s first hub for electric take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles. Air-One, based in Coventry, is now open to the public for demonstrations.
Air-One opened on April 25, 2022, heralding a new age of zero-emission air transport. According to Urban-Air Port, the Air-One mini-airport will be open for visitors for at least one month until the end of May 2022. During this time the developer of the project aims to demonstrate how the purpose-built ground infrastructure could help unlock the potential of sustainable mobility and contribute to the decarbonization of air transport, while ensuring seamless passenger journey or the delivery of goods.
“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. Cars have roads. Trains have rails. Planes have airports. Now, eVTOLs have an Urban-Air Port,” Ricky Sandhu, the founder of Urban-Air Port said in a statement published on Coventry City Council’s website.
According to Sandhu, it took around 15 months for Urban-Air Port to open the first life-sized demonstrator of a future innovative airport dedicated to serving eVTOLs.
While believing that the development of innovative ground infrastructure will play a key role in the future expansion of eVTOL aircraft, the developer said Air-One will host demonstrator flights as well as several airport processes, including aircraft command and control, and eVTOL charging and cargo loading for unmanned drones.
“Flights of large cargo drones will be demonstrated by UK-based drone developer, Malloy Aeronautics. […] 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,” the statement continued.
Urban-Air Port cited predictions from NASA analysts that the advanced air mobility market (AAM) is expected to reach an annual growth of 9% with the potential to reach up to $1 trillion within the next 20 years. Considering this forecast, Urban-Air Port aims to accelerate its development plans with a goal to launch 200 vertiports worldwide in the next five years, including facilities in the West Midlands and London, as well as in the United States, Australia, South Korea, South East Asia, Germany, France, and Scandinavia.
In late January 2022, Urban-Air Port secured investment from Supernal, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group that is currently developing an eVTOL vehicle for 2028 entry-into-service. The investment is expected to be used for the development and integration of AAM systems into existing transportation networks.