UK start-up to build flying taxi hubs in 65 cities
January 20, 2022
by Christopher Carey
British start-up Urban-air port (UAP) announced plans to establish 200 hubs for flying taxis and cargo drones in 65 cities around the world over the next five years.
The company is about to launch its first ‘vertiport’, dubbed the “world’s smallest airport”, in Coventry in April, and announces a “significant investment” from Hyundai Motor Group’s urban air division supernal will allow extension to other sites.
“We have a variety of locations identified with our customers, customers and strategic partners – these will be announced in the coming weeks and months, both in the UK and globally,” said Ricky Sandhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of UAP. cities today.
Bases are planned for the UK, USA, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Australia, South Korea and South East Asia, with Los Angeles and London already confirmed as future sites.
The market for eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) flying taxis has grown rapidly over the past five years, and further growth is expected.
A report by market research firm Frost & Sullivan predicts that by 2040, 430,000 such vehicles will be in service worldwide.
But for eVTOLs to be deployed commercially on a large scale, three basic aviation regulatory approvals are required in most jurisdictions: type certification, production certification, and operational authorities.
These involve regulatory airworthiness approval of a particular manufacturing design and certification to allow mass production of a particular eVTOL. Additional operational requirements and authorizations for business operations are required.
In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working to adapt existing aviation regulations to accommodate eVTOLs, while in Europe, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is developing a regulatory proposal and a new certification framework through a series of milestones. building blocks.
But the adoption of full certification to operate “air taxis” that carry passengers on a commercial scale is still in its infancy.
In comparison, the use of unmanned delivery drones has grown at a faster rate, and the incorporation of heavier models is increasingly seen as a potential solution to reducing traffic congestion in cities.
“Regulators around the world are working with us to realize the benefits of advanced air mobility from infrastructure-to-infrastructure network capability,” added Sandhu.
“We are working closely with the UK Civil Aviation Authority for Air-One where we will see for the first time a heavy lift drone with an MTOW (maximum take off weight) of over 125kg operating in a heavily built up area. in Coventry city centre.
Last year, the company received £1.2 million (US$1.64 million) through the UK government. Future Flight Challenge to develop the project.
The trials will take place at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, a sports and exhibition venue on the outskirts of the city.
Image: Urban-air port