1 FEBRUARY 2021
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The long-time dream of the flying car may be nearer than we thought.
The UK Government has awarded financial support to a company that is developing aviation infrastructure for electric and autonomous air vehicles with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability.
British firm Urban Air Port’s project ‘Air-One’ will see the world’s first fully operational hub for electric VTOL aircraft – such as cargo drones and flying taxis – set up in Coventry later this year. The company’s broader aim is to provide zero-emission air passenger journeys and deliveries.
Urban Air Port has now been selected as a winner of the Government’s Future Flight Challenge, entitling it to a £1.2m grant. The money comes from the £125m Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and is expected to be matched by up to £175m from private industry.
The firm is already a priority infrastructure partner of Hyundai Motor Group’s Urban Air Mobility Division. The Korean brand is supporting Air-One and intends to build its own electric VTOL aircraft, which it wants to commercialise by 2028.
Urban Air Port plans to develop more than 200 sites in the next five years. Each one will be 60% smaller than a traditional heliport, emit net-zero carbon and be completely off-grid. The sites, which it is claimed, can be built in “a matter of days” will also be of use in emergency situations, with the ability to rapidly deploy drones and flying vehicles to transport supplies, equipment or people.
Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban Air Port, said: “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.”
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