World-first electric Urban Air Port® secures UK government backing

  • Urban Air Port® Air-One® is an innovative hub for future electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft – such as air taxis and autonomous delivery drones – that will transport people and cargo across cities in the coming years.
  • Hyundai Motor Group, Coventry City Council and the UK Government have partnered with Urban Air Port® to launch the world’s first site – Air One® – to demonstrate the potential of urban air mobility for the UK and worldwide.
  • Urban Air Port® will reduce congestion, cut air pollution and help achieve a zero carbon future. It can be integrated with electric vehicles and sustainable public transport.
  • The company plans to install more than 200 zero emission sites worldwide over the next five years in response to global demand.

Urban Air Port® Air-One® has today been selected as a winner of the UK government’s Future Flight Challenge to develop aviation infrastructure and systems that enable the next generation of electric and autonomous air vehicles. Air-One® is a world-first fully-operational hub for future electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft – such as cargo drones and air taxis – to be launched in Coventry later this year.

Urban Air Port® develops fully autonomous innovative zero emission infrastructure for future air mobility. The ambitious Air-One® project will bring industry, government and the public together to demonstrate how to unlock the potential of sustainable urban air mobility to reduce congestion, cut air pollution and holistically decarbonise transport while providing seamless passenger journeys and deliveries.

NASA predicts that urban-air mobility in the US alone could be worth up to $500 billion USD (£375 billion) in the near-term and states that a significant barrier to market growth is the lack of infrastructure,1 an issue which Urban Air Port® was established to resolve.

The Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group has chosen Urban Air Port® as its priority infrastructure partner to support the global growth of this new sector. The South Korean company plans to create its own eVTOL aircraft and support the broader urban air mobility eco-system. Hyundai Motor Group is supporting the development of Air-One® as part of its plan to commercialise its aircraft by 2028.

Ricky Sandhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of Urban Air Port®, said: “Cars need roads. Trains need rails. Planes need airports. eVTOLs will need Urban Air Ports. 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.

“Flying cars used to be a futuristic flight of fancy. Air-One® will bring clean urban air transport to the masses and unleash a new airborne world of zero emission mobility.”

Pamela Cohn, Chief Operating Officer for the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group, said: “As we advance our eVTOL aircraft programme, development of supporting infrastructure is imperative. Air-One® is a unique project that is set to help lead the way in developing a robust, accessible and intermodal infrastructure network for future mobility. We are excited to be part of this partnership in the UK, and look forward to working together to create community impact and opportunity through safe, affordable, and human-centred mobility solutions.”

The physical footprint of an Urban Air Port® is 60% smaller than a traditional heliport (the most comparable existing infrastructure). Using innovative construction, the sites can be installed in a matter of days, emit net zero carbon emissions and can be operated completely off-grid, meaning they do not always have to rely on a suitable grid connection.

Urban Air Port® provides an integrated approach to the decarbonisation of cities. It is designed to support any eVTOL aircraft and complements other modes of sustainable transport as a hub for electric vehicles, buses or scooters. The design enables Urban Air Ports® to be easily moved to alternative sites, as the air-mobility sector develops. This design also means the sites are ideal for disaster emergency management. Urban Air Ports® can rapidly deploy drones and other eVTOL to collect and transport emergency supplies, equipment and people where needed.

Gary Cutts, UK Research and Innovation Future Flight Challenge Director, said: “Urban Air Port® has the potential to revolutionise cities across the world, making them more connected, cleaner and accelerating our green economic recovery. This project epitomises the purpose of the Future Flight Challenge fund – it is innovation at its finest – and will help to position the UK at the vanguard of electric urban air mobility.”

The company plans to develop more than 200 sites in the next five years to meet global demand. Cities across the UK and many more globally have already expressed an interest in installing an Urban Air Port®. Having secured funding for Air-One®, Urban Air Port® is now in discussions with investors to support its rapid commercialisation and global growth.

Urban Air Port® chose Coventry for the first site due to its important location in the heart of the UK and because it is a historic hub for the automobile and aerospace industry, with a pool of people and skills that can support the manufacturing industries of the future. The city’s unique location also provides easy access within four hours to most parts of the country. In December 2020, Coventry was named the best UK town for electric cars. Air-One® will be unveiled during Coventry’s UK city of culture celebrations in 2021 and continue to form part of the Commonwealth Games in 2022.2

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, said: “We are already a city that is helping to shape the future of electric transport and this is yet another ground breaking project that puts Coventry at the forefront of new technologies. It highlights how the council is working alongside a range of organisations to help shape a better, greener future.”

With research partners at Coventry University, Urban Air Port® aims to further public understanding and acceptance of the new technology – a key factor to its ultimate success. The Air-One® site in Coventry will showcase live demonstrations of remote aircraft command and control, charging / refuelling and cargo and passenger loading for manned and unmanned eVTOL aircraft operating in three key markets: passenger air taxi services, autonomous logistics and disaster emergency management.

Malloy Aeronautics, a leading UK-based drone developer, logistics and engineering company, is Urban Air Port’s® UK drone aircraft partner. The company’s large cargo drones will be demonstrated at the Air-One® site.

Oriol Badia, CEO of Malloy Aeronautics, said: “It is a key goal for Malloy – to introduce unmanned air logistics into an urban environment and merge it with supporting infrastructure that is flexible and resilient, hosting intelligent operating systems and state of the art innovation. Air-One® provides the ability to service multiple transport requirements of the future – from disaster relief to essential and everyday supplies for citizens across the UK. These are truly exciting opportunities especially with a strong partnership between Malloy and Urban Air Port® – thus unifying serviceability and operability, forming a turnkey product.”

Urban Air Port® has been awarded a £1.2 million grant from UK Research and Innovation’s Future Flight Challenge. The programme is funded by £125 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and is expected to be matched by up to £175 million from industry.

Sunil Budhdeo, Transport Innovation Manager at Coventry City Council, said: “As part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Coventry City Council is 100% supportive of this innovative and  ground-breaking Air-One® programme, demonstrating how revolutionary new, greener modes of travel will increase mobility, reduce road congestion, improve connectivity and increase UK manufacturing opportunities.”

Partners in the ground-breaking project include:

  • Hyundai Motor Group, a developer of eVTOL aircraft that will support infrastructure and operations design and development.
  • Coventry City Council, providing the site and local city / event management.
  • Coventry University & the National Transport Design Centre [NTDC], providing Human Factors and Disaster Relief consulting.
  • Malloy Aeronautics, drone logistics.
  • small. ®, architectural design and parent company of Urban Air Port Limited®.

Air-One® will also be developed with an industry leading team including several UK SMEs, Ove Arup and Partners, world-leading electric charging providers and leading manufacturers.

Urban Air Port’s® Air-One® provides, another often overlooked contribution, the stimulation of STEM studies in education. ‘Bringing the future to the local’ activities for all levels of students to increase their exposure to these vital technologies that they will become developers and users of in the future. Students from schools and universities from around the UK will be invited to visit Air-One® to stimulate their awareness of applied UK STEM and inspire them to help create a brighter and more sustainable future.

About Urban Air Port® Limited
Urban Air Port® Limited is a wholly-owned subsidiary of small. (Six Miles Across London Limited). small. consists of a group of UK based Design & DeepTech companies focusing on creating a Zero-Emission-Mobility [ZEM] ecosystem. These companies include Urban.AV (Autonomous Vehicles) partnered with Cambridgeshire County Council; Urban.MASS (Mass Transit), partnered with Shildon in the Northern PowerHouse and Urban Air Port® (Infrastructure-as-a-Service enabling Urban-Air Mobility) that is partnered with Hyundai Motor Group to advance Urban Air Mobility.

About Hyundai Motor
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond with its range of world-class vehicles and mobility services available in more than 200 countries. Employing more than 110,000 employees worldwide, Hyundai sold more than 4.5 million vehicles globally. Hyundai continues to enhance its product line-up with vehicles that are helping to build solutions for a more sustainable future, such as NEXO – the world’s first dedicated hydrogen-powered SUV.

About Hyundai Motor UK
Hyundai has sold vehicles in the UK since 1982. In 2005, Hyundai opened its own UK subsidiary, Hyundai Motor UK Ltd, based in Leatherhead. Hyundai offers consumers the broadest range of alternative fuel vehicles from the electrified IONIQ range, the 300 mile range KONA Electric and the hydrogen fuel cell NEXO, as well as award winning internal combustion engine vehicles such as the i10 city car, the high performance N range and the trusted and capable SUV ranges of KONA, Tucson and Santa Fe. All passenger cars come with Hyundai’s industry-leading 5 Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty package.

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