Urban-Air Port is partnering with Altitude Angel and Safeguard Vertiports to work on the world’s first infrastructure programme, which is backed by the UK Government.

The project will involve designing safe and clean connect Air Architecture™ for future air taxis and autonomous logistics drones. All three companies will now work together to design, develop and showcase operational Air Architecture™ at the Urban-Air Port Air One® site in Coventry later this year.

Ricky Sandhu, Founder of Urban-Air Port, said: “Our global transport systems are broken. Inner-city transport is congested, inefficient and polluted. In remote locations, it is either non-existent or over-priced, leaving many isolated and increasing economic disparity. But to fix this, we still look to siloed and ancient road and rail infrastructure.

“New innovations mean we can now reimagine transport to perfectly meet the needs of people and provide a cohesive, sustainable and reliable experience. Our Air Architecture can unlock clean and beautiful cities and connect the world in new ways – in the air and on the ground – bringing economic prosperity, cutting emissions and improving quality of life.”

NASA estimates more 70 per cent of the potential urban air mobility market value is dependent on infrastructure. Urban-Air Port’s Air One® project is a world-first hub for future air taxis, drones and ground-based electric transport, such as cars, e-bikes and e-scooters.

Altitude Angel has developed a cost-effective platform to digitally support the local Urban-Air Port air traffic zones, enabling it to enhance and provide unified traffic management (UTM) services.

It enables manned and unmanned aircraft to be tracked, monitored and communicated with and controlled in non segregated airspace in real-time. The company launched the world’s first commercial drone ‘test corridor’ in open and unrestricted airspace in the Thames Valley, west of London.

While Safeguard Vertiports will develop a certification programme that will meet Civil Aviation Authority regulations for safe operational turnarounds. The company is a subsidiary of Safeguard Engineering Ltd. and provides specialist advice and support on the design, development and use of vertiport platform areas.

Its team is working with regulators to develop an assessment and certification process that can be applied to all future vertiports worldwide, ensuring each platform area is designed, built and managed to the safest possible standard.

Richard Ellis, Chief Business Officer at Altitude Angel, said: “By enabling eVTOL operators to safely transit through ‘air roads’ and integrate their operations into and around these urban airports, we will unlock the future potential of the national airspace infrastructure.

“Our platform will allow all users of the sky, from air taxis and drone operators to general aviation and emergency service helicopters to share the airspace safely and securely.”

Similar to existing air corridors for commercial aircraft, ‘air roads’ will be approved and regulated routes for future eVTOL aircraft that will enable safe and efficient travel between Urban-Air Port hubs and other sites.

In the initial phase, each corridor will provide segregated airspace at defined altitudes for individual manned and unmanned aircraft. Like traditional air traffic control, the process will initially be managed by people but as systems mature, traffic monitoring will be conducted by intelligent autonomous systems.

The air roads will be in the first instance, separate from existing aircraft corridors, operating at much lower altitudes when unmanned. They will be created between strategic locations, away from buildings and roads. Once the safety and environmental benefits are demonstrated, the airspace will become increasingly unified and gradually expand to more locations to meet rising demand.

Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “Cleaner, inter-city flight technology is vital not only to reduced emissions, but to better connect remote communities, from small towns in the UK to isolated settlements all around the world.

“As we build back greener from the pandemic, initiatives like the government-backed Air One® project will help us develop the infrastructure needed to make our dreams of flying taxis a reality.”

Earlier this year, Urban-Air Port was chosen by the Urban Air Mobility division of Hyundai Motor Group as its priority infrastructure partner. Additionally, it was selected as a winner of the UK Government’s Future Flight Challenge to develop aviation infrastructure for the next generation of electric and autonomous air vehicles.

The company plans to develop more than 200 sites around the world in the next five years to meet global demand. eVTOL Insights spoke to Urban-Air Port’s Chief Technology Officer, Alan Jones, in a podcast to discuss its plans for the future.

Away from the eVTOL market, Urban-Air Port has also partnered with SkyFarer and Coventry University to demonstrate medical drone deliveries on the Air Architecture™. The project will also take place at the Air One® site in Coventry later this year.