Urban-Air Port has opened Air-One in Coventry.

This is a demonstration hub for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles. They include air taxis and autonomous cargo drones.

The UK-based developer says it will be operational for the next month, providing a blueprint for the designs.

More than 200 vertiports are planned worldwide over the next five years.

New transport

Air-one will demonstrate aircraft command and control, eVTOL charging, cargo loading for unmanned drones. There will be a host of demonstrator flights.

West Midlands Police and Skyfarer will be among the first to operate flights from the site. These intend to showcase how drone bases will provide for ‘sky protection’ and secure high-value cargo deliveries in the near future.

Flights of large cargo drones will also be demonstrated by UK-based drone developer, Malloy Aeronautics. It will be the first time such large drones have flown in dense and built-up urban environments.

Sci-Fi worldliness

Air-One will also host charging infrastructure for other modes of electric transport, including electric vehicles (EVs).

The series of public engagement events are intended to bring future air mobility to life for the public. These form part of Coventry’s City of Culture celebrations.

Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban-Air Port, says its a “momentous moment”.

Sandhu believes this is “he starting gun for a new age of transport”. Benefits will include “zero-emission, congestion-free travel between and within cities that will make people healthier, happier and more connected than ever before”.

“Cars have roads. Trains have rails. Planes have airports. Now, eVTOLs have an Urban-Air Port.”

Speed and spec

Design, fabrication and now operation of Air-One has been delivered in just 15 months. This is an important point in setting global standards and opening up a practical world of possibilities.

“Air-One is just the first model in our infrastructure fleet and our order-book is not only open but already growing,” he added. “The interest is turning into recognition of the need for our technology and into demand.”

The advanced air mobility (AAM) market is set to take off, with forecasted growth of 9% annually to reach $1 trillion within the next two decades.

Setting the scene

Despite a booming market and great potential for the hi-speed transport technology, there is a distinct lack of ground infrastructure. This remains one of the single biggest barriers to growth, according to analysis by NASA.

Urban-Air Port, backed by the UK Government, see the Air-One as demonstrating the way forward.

Purpose-built ground infrastructure can unleash the potential to decarbonise transport, cutting air pollution and congestion. Meanwhile, it can provide seamless passenger journeys and deliveries.

Minister for aviation, Robert Courts, says “British innovation has a rich history of transforming global transportation”.

“The opening of Air-One, backed by Government funding, will revolutionise the way people and goods travel across the nation.

“This step forward puts Britain at the vanguard of clean transport, bringing investment and high-skilled, green job opportunities to the nation, while levelling up opportunity in the Midlands.”

Urban-Air Port is accelerating its plans to develop 200 vertiports worldwide.

Vertiports are planned for the UK in the West Midlands and London. Alongside these, States (Los Angeles), Australia, South Korea, France, Germany, Scandinavia and South East Asia are also on track.

Tomorrow the world

Coventry provides a location in the heart of the UK.meaning national destinations are all within four hours of travel. The city also has a history of leadership in  automobile and aerospace development.

Following Coventry in Summer 2022, Urban-Air Port will redeploy Air-One to other locations in the UK. There will also be international demonstrations in different environments and settings, establishing the global standard for ground infrastructure.