The Japan Osaka Prefectural Government has allocated grants to eight domestic and international consortiums to assist its development of the eVTOL industry ahead of the 2025 World Expo, reports To be held on the manmade island of Yumeshima in Osaka Bay, there are just 941 days remaining until the Expo opens.

The grant application period ran from June 30th to July 29th. The results were announced last week (September 7th). The eight successful consortiums will share a pool of USD210,000 in funding from the prefectural government, though the precise division of this money has not been revealed. There were a total of fifteen different applicants of which seven were unsuccessful.

The consortia who received grants are as follows:

Mitsui: Mandated to create a platform for an air mobility integrated operations management system. This includes assistance in the creation of an Osaka Kansai Expo Flight Coordination Center, as well as studies and practical experiments aiming to provide a safe environment for eVTOL flights, both under normal conditions and in emergencies. Other members of this consortium are Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), JR West Innovations, Aero Asahi, Ogawa Air, and Terra Drone.

Airbus: Authorised to verify optimal flight routes, including a consideration of necessary equipment. Initially, tests will be conducted via automated helicopters. The routes to be verified include Kansai International Airport to central Osaka, Kobe Airport to Kansai International Airport, and Awaji Island to central Osaka. The other member of this consortium is Hiratagakuen.

Sumitomo: Assigned to conduct eVTOL flight simulations using an unmanned aircraft control system. This project includes the 3D visualization of flight routes to identify potential problems in operations. Flight simulations will involve three potential routes: Yumeshima Excursion; Kansai International Airport to Yumeshima; and Yumeshima to Umeda (a central Osaka commercial district). The other members of this consortium are Japan Airlines (JAL) and OneSky Systems.

Orix: Mandated to conduct a feasibility study for placing vertiports within central Osaka, including on rooftops. The survey will include an examination of wind conditions and the costs for construction and maintenance. Other members of this consortium are Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO), Aero Facility and All Nippon Airways (ANA).

Kanematsu: Authorised to investigate candidate sites for vertiports in Osaka Prefecture. This investigation intends to find the optimal sites for vertiports that will service the 2025 Expo. This project aims to establish a vertiport management system that will possess long-term business viability. Other members of this consortium are Skyports, Nippon Koei and Chuo Fukken Consultants.

Kanematsu and Skyports to Collaborate (Pic: Skyports)

Marubeni: Assigned to conduct experiments aimed at enhancing public acceptance of eVTOLs, and also examining the business case for air taxi services. This includes the provision of a helicopter transportation experience to some members of the public at the estimated ticket price of future eVTOL services on routes connecting Osaka and Wakayama prefectures. A later experiment will use the Hexa eVTOL developed by Lift Aircraft. Other members of this consortium are Chodai, Nankai Electric Railway, Tokio Marine and Nichido Fire Insurance, Vertical Aerospace Group, Sompo Japan Insurance and Lift Aircraft.

Volocity to be on Display (Pic: Volocopter)

SkyDrive: Mandated to conduct lectures and surveys related to increasing social acceptance of the eVTOL industry. In the lecture series to be held at various locations around Osaka Prefecture, this consortium will present attendees with presentations on the theme of “a future with flying cars.” Other members of the consortium are Obayashi Corporation, Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO), Kintetsu Group, Tokio Marine and Nichido Fire Insurance.

Volocopter: Authorised to organise an exhibition aimed at increasing public acceptance of the eVTOL industry. Volocopter is planning to hold an event early next year in Osaka to display a full-scale model of its VoloCity aircraft and to conduct classes on urban air mobility for elementary and junior high schools. Other members of this consortium are Japan Airlines (JAL), Mitsui, Mitsui Bussan Aerospace and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation.

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