The UK city of Coventry is to be home to a temporary “pop-up” airport being built as a proof of concept for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles. The facility, called Air-One, will help establish the potential of cargo drones and air taxis as a low-carbon way for people and goods to travel between urban centres.
Air-One will be open for just one month at the end of 2021, and is a collaboration between government agencies, private-sector businesses and the aviation industry. It has been developed by Urban Air Port, with the involvement of the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group and Coventry City Council.
The project won a £1.2m grant from the UK government’s Future Flight Challenge. The programme is also funded by £125 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and is expected to be matched by up to £175 million from industry.
Hyundai identified Urban Air Port as a priority infrastructure partner to support the global growth of this new sector. The South Korean company plans to create develop and commercialise its own eVTOL aircraft by 2028 and support the broader urban air mobility eco-system.
Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban Air Port, said, “Flying cars used to be a futuristic flight of fancy. Air-One will bring clean urban air transport to the masses and unleash a new airborne world of zero emission mobility.”
Pamela Cohn, chief operating officer for the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group, said: “As we advance our eVTOL aircraft programme, development of supporting infrastructure is imperative. Air-One is a unique project that is set to help lead the way in developing a robust, accessible and intermodal infrastructure network for future mobility. We are excited to be part of this partnership in the UK, and look forward to working together to create community impact and opportunity through safe, affordable, and human-centred mobility solutions.”
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, said: “We are already a city that is helping to shape the future of electric transport and this is yet another ground-breaking project that puts Coventry at the forefront of new technologies. It highlights how the council is working alongside a range of organisations to help shape a better, greener future.”