The world’s first full-scale air taxi vertiport has been unveiled at the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress in Singapore.
The VoloPort is the outcome of a collaboration between Volocopter, the German urban air mobility and air taxi pioneer, and Skyports, the vertiport developer, owner and operator.
Volocopter and Skyports have announced that they will continue their partnership with the aim of introducing commercial air taxi services in Singapore and beyond.
As part of the ITS Wolrd Congress, Volocopter and Skyports have built up the VoloPort prototype on the Float at Marina Bay. During the conference numerous visitors are expected at the VoloPort, including representatives from the EU Commission, the EASA, and the Ministry of Transport of various countries.
SMART Highways editor Paul Hutton spoke to Volocopter’s founder, Alex Zosel, at the ITS World Congress ahead of the air taxi’s flight over the Marina Bay area in Singapore. “We’re not only presenting our flying taxi, we are presenting the first voloport, the first take-off and landing terminal for our flying taxi worldwide,” Zosel told Hutton.
“This is a really big event for us and we’re happy to be flying our taxi here in an urban space and we’re happy that our aircraft works really well with this high humidity climate here in Singapore,” added Zosel.
When our editor asked Zosel to explain the technology behind the Volocopter, he replied, “from the technical side it’s a large flying drone so we can fly it autonomously. We had the first test trials in 2017 of the fully autonomous version but we are sure that when we start with operations with air taxis you need to have the trust of the people and the authorities so we are convinced that we have to start with pilots, so we’ll have a pilot and a passenger.”
As the demonstrations in a Singapore will be a world first, Paul Hutton asked Zosel when we’ll see the taxis in commercial operation. “since July of this year we have had a regulation baseline published by aviation regulator EASA for commercial flights with electric vertical take-off and landing air crafts in urban spaces. So now we have developed our new product called Volocity based on this new certification baseline and we need another 2 years to bring this aircraft to certification. But we have to start now to look for the infrastructure,” Zosel answered.
Ground-based infrastructure is critical to the success of urban air mobility (UAM). VoloPorts are the only physical infrastructure required for so called eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) passenger air taxis to take off and land and are a vital means of establishing commercial operations in urban environments.