Bellwether Industries is collaborating with Inmarsat to explore how satellite communications can optimise the future of intra-city transportation services, with a focus on safety, regulation and innovation. 

The company is bringing to market Volar, its Urban Air Mobility (UAM) aircraft for personal and private mobility, which aims to redefine future lifestyles and reduce complications often associated with city transportation.

Combining Bellwether’s UAM capabilities with Inmarsat’s safety services and regulatory expertise, the partnership will ensure safety in intra-city transportation with a focus on regulation and innovation. 

Kai-Tse Lin, Bellwether’s Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, said: “Inmarsat’s contribution is extremely important to the future development of Bellwether’s Onboard Vehicle Management System and airspace integration. 

“It is crucial that the operation of our Volar urban aircraft is a simplified and user-friendly experience to make commuting in a Volar easier than driving a car.”

Inmarsat owns and operates the world’s most diverse global portfolio of mobile telecommunications satellite networks. It holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band.

Inmarsat’s Velaris connectivity solution and existing expertise in aviation safety systems will enable Bellwether’s Volar to safely and seamlessly integrate with commercial airspace, with accurate positional information reported back from an onboard satellite navigation system. It also has the ability to combine and harmonise data for uncrewed traffic management.

Bellwether will also gain access to Inmarsat’s regulatory and air traffic management expertise and Velaris partners throughout the design and implementation process.

Anthony Spouncer, Senior Director – UAV & Unmanned Traffic Management, at Inmarsat, added: “Our partnership with Bellwether will be critical in the development of safe and efficient intra-city transportation services with passenger experience as their driving force.

“In collaboration with an urban air mobility platform manufacturer, Velaris will play a key role in making safety and efficiency industry-standard features for the intra-city transportation sector. Together we’re defining a new category of transportation that is passenger orientated by design, prioritising safety and regulation.”

Volar is defined as a new category of private urban aircraft for intra-city travel, which has a hidden propulsion system and compact profile. 

Bellwether made its public debut at London’s DroneX/Helitech in October last year and at the Dubai Air Show in November, completing the free-flight test at an altitude of 4 m and speed of 40 km/h. 

Bellwether’s full-scale Volar will be a four to five-seater aircraft, flying at an altitude of 915 metres with a speed of up to 220 km/h, and plans to bring the first commercial model to market by 2028.