Concept: British startup Urban-Air Port has developed Air-One, a vertiport for manned and unmanned vehicles in Coventry. It is claimed to be the world’s first fully operational multi-modal infrastructure hub for managing future electric air travel, such as flying taxis and autonomous delivery drones.
Nature of Disruption: Air-One is a 1579m2 radial vertiport that comes equipped with a passenger lounge, retail pop-up, cafe, and freight logistics hub zones. It also includes a hydrogen-air vehicle hangar, security screening, and a command-and-control center. The patented 56-foot circular final approach and take-off (FATO) platform supports the zones, which rise 19 feet into the air with the help of a compact and synchronized link-lift system. Future electric vehicle take-offs and landings (eVTOLs) could be enhanced as a result of this. The port claims to have a physical footprint that is 60% less than a normal heliport. The sites can be created in a matter of days, satisfy zero carbon emission norms, and can be operated completely off-grid. As the air-mobility industry expands, the design enables vertiport to be readily relocated to other locations. Due to the design capability, the sites seem good for efficient catastrophe emergency management. Drones and other eVTOLs can be quickly deployed by Urban-Air Ports to collect and transfer emergency supplies, equipment, and personnel wherever required.
Outlook: Air-One was developed in collaboration with Hyundai Motor Group, Coventry City Council, and the UK Government to illustrate the possibilities of urban air mobility in the UK and around the world. The solution has the potential to resolve traffic congestion, reduce pollution, and contribute to a zero-carbon future. It can be combined with EVs and environmentally friendly public transportation. In response to global demand, the startup plans to build more than 200 zero-emission facilities globally within the next five years. Local governments, including emergency responders, logistics operators, and the military, can employ the vertiports. Urban-Air Port was one of 48 initiatives funded by a $315 million UK government ‘future flight challenge,’ alongside the private sector. US-based smart mobility service provider Supernal has partnered with the startup. Supernal’s Hyundai affiliate all-electric eight-rotor concept vehicle is on show at Air-One which is due certification by 2024 before going into full production.