Air taxis and autonomous delivery drones will no longer be futuristic concepts with the launch of a new project that will build the world’s first hub for electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
Hyundai Motor Group, Coventry City Council and the UK Government have partnered with British start-up company, Urban Air Port to develop Air-One, an innovative hub for air vehicles that will transport both people and cargo to various destinations.
As a winner of the UK Government’s Future Flight Challenge, Urban Air Port was awarded a £1.2 million grant to develop the Air-One hub. The Future Flight Challenge supports the development of aviation infrastructure and systems that enable the next generation of electric and autonomous air vehicles.
"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. Flying cars used to be a futuristic flight of fancy. Air-One will bring clean urban air transport to the masses and unleash a new airborne world of zero emission mobility,” Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban Air Port, explained.
Designed to support any eVTOL aircraft, Urban Air Port’s fully autonomous zero-emission infrastructure will unlock the potential of sustainable urban air transport through reduced congestion and air pollution while enabling seamless passenger journeys and deliveries.
Sixty per cent smaller than a traditional heliport, an Urban Air Port is designed for quick installation in just a few days, and can be operated completely off-grid if required. In addition to passenger air taxi services and autonomous logistics, Urban Air Port also aims to support emergency disaster management activities with its ability to quickly deploy air vehicles to transport supplies, equipment and people.
Coventry was chosen as the site for the first Urban Air Port not only for its central location but also for being a historic hub for the automobile and aerospace industry with a considerable talent pool.
Hyundai Motor Group’s Urban Air Mobility Division, which is partnering with Urban Air Port for the development of Air-One, plans to create its own eVTOL aircraft and commercialise them by 2028.
“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,” said Pamela Cohn, chief operating officer for the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group.
Leading UK-based drone developer, logistics and engineering company, Malloy Aeronautics is Urban Air Port’s UK drone aircraft partner.
The first Air-One site will be unveiled during Coventry’s UK city of culture celebrations this year. With Urban Air Port aiming for rapid commercialisation, more than 200 zero emission sites are expected to be developed worldwide over the next five years.
Image credit: Hyundai Motor Group/ Urban Air Port