Volocopter begins testing in Paris for VoloCity eVTOL aircraft
The creation of the test area correlates with the Paris region, Group ADP and RATP Groupe’s goal to develop a UAM industry branch in the region.
Photo Credit: Volocopter
It was reported on Sept. 30 that Volocopter GmbH (Bruchsal, Germany) an electric air taxi company developing the VoloCity, an autonomous helicopter eVTOL, begins testing of its full-scale model in Paris with the creation of a test area at the Pontoise airfield, 35 kilometers northwest of Paris.
According to Valérie Pécresse, president of Paris Region, Volocopter’s initiative as an industrial player directly correlates with the Paris region, Group ADP (France) and RATP’s (Paris, France) goals to structure and develop an urban air mobility (UAM) branch in the region, which is consistent with the Recovery Plan initiated by Paris Region, and in line with the key takeaways of its recent COP 2020 conference. With a focus on the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, the branch’s development also falls within the scope and priorities of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic games.
“We are incredibly excited to be the eVTOL manufacturer of choice in the Paris region’s Urban Air Mobility project. We will open our first commercial air taxi routes in the next 2-3 years and are excited to have a potential launching partner here in Europe,” says Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter.
In the first half of 2021, it is said necessary arrangements will be made for the Pontoise testing area, first on the airside, then on the boarding areas inside the buildings (suitable parking areas, electrical recharging systems, and ground markings). In cooperation with DGAC (Civil Aviation Authority), parking, take-off and landing operations, as well as operations around the vehicle, whether maintenance or electrical recharging, will be tested in a real aeronautical environment in June 2021.
Further, the Paris region, with the support of the Choose Paris Region Agency, launches an international call for expressions of interest. Applications will be open on October 1 until 13 November 2020 on the website. The selected projects will be announced on December 18, 2020.
The project covers all the components of UAM including:
- Vehicle development for manufacturers and equipment suppliers (batteries, avionics, etc.)
- Urban infrastructure for energy companies or vertiport designers
- Operations for suppliers of intermodal solutions, maintenance or digital platforms
- Airspace integration for suppliers of unmanned traffic management (UTM) or communication/navigation systems
- Acceptability for laboratories or research institutes dealing with social and environmental issues.
“The structuring of an urban air mobility (UAM) industry around the eVTOL aircraft is vital for the attractiveness of Paris Region. The growth of this industry will contribute to the development of environmentally friendly industrial solutions and offer Paris Region a unique mix of urban multimodal transportation systems,” says Franck Margain, president of Choose Paris Region. “Choose Paris Region will lead the call for interest by capitalizing on its technological expertise and international network to identify French and international companies which will be involved in the launch of this sector.”
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