An urban airport showcasing “flying cars” and drones is to be opened in Coventry, with government support for programmes that tackle road congestion and pollution.
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.
It has received a £1.2m government grant, which has been matched by Hyundai, and is scheduled to open in November as part of celebrations marking Coventry as the UK City of Culture.
It will be the world’s first fully operational hub for future electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft – such as cargo drones and air taxis.
It is hoped the ambitious 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.
Ricky Sandhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of Urban Air Port®, said: “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.
“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.”
Pamela Cohn, Chief Operating Officer for the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group added: “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.”
The physical footprint of an Urban Air Port® is 60% smaller than a traditional heliport (the most comparable existing infrastructure). Using innovative construction, the sites can be installed in a matter of days, emit net zero carbon emissions and can be operated completely off-grid, meaning they do not always have to rely on a suitable grid connection.
Gary Cutts, UK Research and Innovation Future Flight Challenge Director, said: “Urban Air Port® has the potential to revolutionise cities across the world, making them more connected, cleaner and accelerating our green economic recovery. This project epitomises the purpose of the Future Flight Challenge fund – it is innovation at its finest – and will help to position the UK at the vanguard of electric urban air mobility.”
The company plans to develop more than 200 sites in the next five years to meet global demand. Cities across the UK and many more globally have already expressed an interest in installing an Urban Air Port®. Having secured funding for Air-One®, Urban Air Port® is now in discussions with investors to support its rapid commercialisation and global growth.
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.