UK-based Urban-Air Port and Hyundai Air Mobility have announced a partnership to explore the creation of a purpose-built, multi-functional and scalable infrastructure to enable urban transportation systems to move people and cargo by air.
Hyundai forecasts the air mobility market will be worth nearly $1.5 trillion over the next 20 years but countries lack the appropriate ground infrastructure.
The company, part of the Hyundai Motor Group division, plans to invest $1.5bn in urban air mobility (UAM) over the next five years to create an air vehicle and the supporting mobility ecosystem for UAM operations.
Hyundai’s and Urban-Air Port’s joint aim is to transform cities for the better by creating a versatile infrastructure that enables future mobility, vitalises urban communities, and expands access to transportation services and the green economy.
In a statement, the companies said that they plan to invest in the development of a full-scale prototype for live electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) demonstrations and two UK cities have already signed on to support development in 2021. One has been named as Coventry in the West Midlands, which will host UK City of Culture 2021 and the Commonwealth Games.
“There is often a strong focus on the vehicles, but without coordination and investment in other parts of the ecosystem, UAM is just a flying science project,” said Pamela Cohn, chief operating officer of Hyundai Air Mobility. “Infrastructure is one of the crucial areas of the broader ecosystem that will bring aerial mobility to communities around the world.
“We are excited to partner with Urban-Air Port and UK communities to explore what this infrastructure of the future will look like.”
The Urban-Air Port design has a 60 per cent smaller footprint than a traditional heliport or nearest-state-of-the-art ‘vertiports’, allowing for quick and easy installation in space-limited urban sites. Its modular flat-pack structure claims to offer a cost-effective, transportable and rapidly deployable new form of infrastructure.
It provides both passenger/cargo processing/amenities and vehicle charging/maintenance facilities within its ultra-compact form.
Ricky Sandhu, CEO of Urban-Air Port, said: “We are extremely proud to announce our partnership with Hyundai Air Mobility as we embark on bringing together world-class electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle OEMs, passenger and logistics service operators and our physical and digital infrastructure in our unique, flexible and sustainable turn-key ‘Air-One’ approach.
“We believe it will help unlock and propel a clean, future UAM mobility ecosystem both here in the UK and around the world for multiple sectors.”
Urban-Air Port is a wholly owned subsidiary of Six Miles Across London or Small, which consists of a group of UK-based urban deep tech companies focusing on future mobility.