UK startup Urban-Air Port has revealed plans to develop 65 electric urban-air ports worldwide, in partnership with the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group.
The partnership aims to meet growing demand for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles such as electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and autonomous drones. This initial development will form part of Urban-Air Port’s wider plan to build 200 sites globally in the next five years.
Companies such as Joby Aviation, Archer Aviation, Lilium and Vertical Aerospace have all made large investments into the development of eVTOL vehicles, but lack of supporting infrastructure has been recognised as a significant barrier to market growth.
Supported by the UKRI Future Flight Challenge, Urban Air-Port’s goal is to establish this global infrastructure to ‘make clean urban air travel a reality’. Its first fully operational urban-air port, named Air-One, will be unveiled in Coventry next year.
“The sector is soaring and we know that a future with electric flying vehicles and drones in cities is going to be a reality soon,” said Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban-Air Port.
“Urban-Air Port will change the way we travel forever — unlocking clean urban air transport for everyone, improving connectivity in congested cities, cutting pollution and boosting productivity.”
Urban Air-Port said its modular hubs, specifically designed for compact environments to support any eVTOL or drone vehicle, will be able to develop in dense urban areas and remote locations with ease of movement to alternative sites. Maintenance and charging will take place on-site, with all sustainable transport including EVs, buses and scooters able to access charging facilities.
The ‘ultra-compact’ off-grid design also means the sites could support disaster emergency management with rapid deployment of drones and other eVTOL vehicles to collect and transport emergency supplies, equipment and people.
The company has also announced a partnership with hydrogen fuel cell company AFC Energy PLC, to provide zero-emission off-grid power for future sites. The system will be deployed at Coventry’s Air-One site.
“Urban Air Mobility will be integral to how we get from A to B this century,” said Pamela Cohn, chief operating officer and US general manager for the UAM division of Hyundai Motor Group. “Hyundai Motor Group has a bold vision for future mobility and is committed to making the human and technological investments needed to usher in a new era of transport.”