Image: Urban Air Port

The Urban Air Port Air-One hub for future electric air mobility is to be demonstrated in the central England city of Coventry later this year.

The Air-One hub, the brainchild of zero emission air mobility developer Urban Air Port, is proposed as a future operational port for electric powered air taxis and delivery drones transporting people and goods across cities.

The demonstration hub, claimed as a world first, is to be undertaken in Coventry in a partnership with Hyundai Motor Group and Coventry City Council. The initiative has been awarded a £1.2 million ($1.6 million) grant from UK Research and Innovation’s Future Flight Challenge.

The proposed hub is intended for future electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and comes with a physical footprint of 60% smaller than a traditional heliport.

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Using innovative construction, such sites could be installed in a matter of days and could be operated completely off-grid.

“Cars need roads. Trains need rails. Planes need airports. eVTOLs will need urban air ports,” comments Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban Air Port.

“Over a hundred years ago, the world’s first commercial flight took off, creating the modern connected world. Urban Air Port will improve connectivity across our cities, boost productivity and help the UK to take the lead in a whole new clean global economy.”

Urban Air Port envisages the Air-One hub as a complement to other modes of sustainable transport, such as electric vehicles or buses, supporting reductions in congestion and emissions and the decarbonisation of transport.

The hub’s design enables it to be easily moved to alternative sites as the air mobility sector develops. It also offers potential for disaster management, enabling the rapid deployment of drones or other eVTOLs to support recovery.

200 Air-One hubs

Urban Air Port plans to install more than 200 zero emission sites worldwide over the next five years. Many cities have reportedly already expressed interest and discussions are under way to commercialise and grow the technology.

The company cites figures from NASA that urban air mobility in the US alone could be worth up to $500 billion in the near-term but that a significant barrier to market growth is the lack of infrastructure – the issue the Air-One hub is intended to address.

Urban Air Port is an angel investor-backed subsidiary of the zero emission mobility ecosystem developer small (Six Miles Across London Limited).

Hyundai Motor Group is advancing an eVTOL air mobility programme with plans to commercialise its aircraft by 2028.

The Air-One hub is to be unveiled during Coventry’s UK city of culture celebrations, which kicks off in May and runs for a year.

Demonstrations will be showcased of remote command and control, charging/refuelling and cargo and passenger loading for manned and unmanned eVTOL aircraft operating in the three areas of passenger air taxi services, autonomous logistics and disaster emergency management.