Volocopter is offering to share a new handbook covering ground infrastructure requirements for urban air mobility (UAM) services with partners involved in developing vertiports for eVTOL aircraft operations. The German eVTOL aircraft developer is providing its own VoloPort concept as a landing site template for the air taxi services that it expects to launch by 2024 with its two-seat VoloCity vehicle.
According to Volocopter, the handbook's information and guidance are based largely on collaborative work and discussions it has already had with government agencies such as aviation regulators, aircraft operators, and other institutions around the world. It also takes account of the development work conducted on the VoloCity and the larger, longer-range VoloConnect aircraft.
The company claims that the VoloPort offers a quick and cost-effective way to establish the infrastructure needed to support eVTOL flights in cities and integrate the new transportation mode with existing urban ecosystems. It is based on a modular design using prefabricated materials and allows facilities to be set up in sites as small as 625 square meters (just over 6,700 square feet, or about twice the area of a tennis court). The facilities can be scaled up in size with additional landing pads and workspace as required, and according to available real estate in any given location.
Volocopter says that the VoloPort concept and design templates in the handbook are intended to take account of local site specifications, whether they are on land at ground level, on sea fronts, or above existing infrastructure. They take account of factors such as aircraft design, performance data, and ground handling needs, such as battery recharging, fire and rescue service provision, and aircraft maintenance.
The handbook will be released only to partners with which the company has a non-disclosure agreement. Volocopter has already collaborated in the development of the VoloPort concept with infrastructure planning group Arup, structural engineering specialist Bayards Aluminium Constructies, and the Graft architectural practice.
“Thanks to the collaboration with our partners and our internal expertise, I am delighted to demonstrate once again how we are leading the space by offering a tangible solution on the infrastructure side of the UAM ecosystem,” said Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter. “We are looking forward to partnering with interested parties around the globe to hasten the development of a sustainable UAM vertiport network, and I am excited to soon see our VoloPorts in operation.”
Volocopter has yet to specify where it expects to build VoloPort facilities and says the location and size will likely be determined by its UAM partners. It says it is open to different business models for operating the sites, but, initially, expects them only to be available to air taxi services operated with its own eVTOL aircraft.