Following last year’s Uber Elevate Summit, one came away with the idea that future landing areas for Urban Air Mobility vehicles would be multi-story and expansive, with connections readily available to other forms of commuting. Volocopter, working with Skyports , has Volo-Ports coming, with the first one due to open by the end of this year. The “stunning designs” for these landing pads will come from the agency Brandlab. Drawings released so far show that Voloports will be simple and modular, enablihg their distribution in many locations or clustered in one centralized facility.
Introduced at the Berlin Green Festival, Volo-Ports appear to be open, friendly places where one can be introduced effortlessly to the joys of taking Volocopters to distant places. Volocopters, smaller than the planned five-passenger vehicles assumed for Uber Elevate rides, will eventually carry two, once certification requirements allow autonomous operation.
The first Volo-Port, to be constructed in Singapore will open for scheduled flight trials in the second half of this year.
This prototype will incorporate all the features of what Volo-Ports will display to the public in subsequent locations.
According to the partners, these will include:
- Enabling real-life testing of the full customer journey to perfect the passenger experience;
- Showcasing planned customer services, including pre-flight checks, passenger lounges and boarding procedures;
- Allowing practical testing of ground operations and services, including battery swaps and charging, maintenance, safety and security;
- Providing the opportunity for authorities and industry regulators to interact with the infrastructure and provide feedback before they are asked to approve the final design.
One point of interest caught this editor’s eye. “Vertiports are the only physical infrastructure required for air taxis to commence operations in cities in the near future. Volo-Ports are designed to provide passengers with a seamless air taxi experience that is safe, secure, and relaxing. They will merge with their surroundings, allowing passengers and passers-by to see through the whole structure.”
The openness and easy flow of foot traffic through a Volo-Port are apparent in the renderings. The Ports’ imminent arrival on the scene seems to be a done deal. Three principals involved agree on this.
Alex Zosel, Co-Founder of Volocopter explains. “Receiving the commercial license for air taxi aircraft is a question of time not possibility. We are thus focusing on shaping the necessary ecosystem around UAM including air traffic management, city regulation and the take-off and landing infrastructure. It takes visionary partners like Skyports and Brandlabs willing to make investments to actively shape the future of urban air mobility. Once regulation comes through on the aviation and city level – and this will be sooner than most think – we will be ready to take off.”
Duncan Walker, Managing Director of Skyports, adds, “Each individual Volo-Port is designed so that it can stand alone or connect to other ports in numerous formations, enabling rapid deployment and scalability. We have analysed the available spaces and movement dynamics in city centers across the world and recognize that infrastructure is a key enabler for the emerging UAM market. We are delighted to be building the world’s first operational Volo-Port in partnership with Volocopter.”
Linda Stannieder, Co-Founder and CEO of Brandlab, explains. “Mobility patterns in cities worldwide are changing rapidly – seamless transitions from one mode to another are crucial for transport efficiencies and changing passenger demands. Our design of the architecture, as well as all services along the whole customer journey, link ground to air infrastructure in the smoothest way possible. Passengers experience the connection to the sky through our design. We aim to build trust and create excitement.”
It will be exciting, indeed, to see this new infrastructure becoming part of a cleaner, greener environment.