World’s first airport for flying cars opens in UK: allows ‘air taxis’ to take off and land
Urban-Air Port: A look at what to expect
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The hub, based in Coventry, covers 17,000 square feet and will be the blueprint for hundreds more city centre airports around the world. It’s designed for zero-emission electric drones and air taxis and the airport itself is powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
Named “Air-One” it was completed by UK-based owners Urban Air-Port Ltd (UAP) in less than 18 months, including planning.
The project is a partnership between the Coventry City Council and Urban Air-Port to demonstrate how urban air mobility can reduce air pollution and congestion on the roads.
And car giant Hyundai has even supplied a prototype of its SA-1 air taxi to demonstrate what can be done at the site.
Urban-Air Port said flying cars that transport passengers could start using the airport in 2025, while the first cargo drone took off this week.
The autonomous drones will collect and deliver emergency supplies and equipment for the British police and emergency services.
The vehicles will take off from a 14-metre-wide launchpad that sits atop the middle of the prefabricated building, giving it its domed shape.
When a flying car or drone touches down on the landing platform, the vehicle drops down inside the hanger, where it can recharge and unload to be ready for its next flight.
Air-One will be open to the public throughout summer 2022 and then UAP plans to dismantle it and move it to other sites in the UK so that more people can see the concept in action.
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The airport is designed to be fully autonomous and to integrate with electric vehicles to create a completely sustainable public transport network.
The structure was built from steel and aluminium wrapped in a tensile translucent fabric.
Researchers say the market for advanced air mobility could reach $12.4 billion worldwide by 2027.
UAP Ceo Ricky Sandhu said: “We wanted to create a multi-functional operations hub for manned and unmanned vehicles providing aircraft command and control, refuelling, cargo and passenger loading.”
He added: “This new, green intermodal infrastructure will remove the largest, single constraint to sustainable air mobility and significantly cut congestion and air pollution from passenger and cargo transport and create a zero-emission ecosystem.
“In Coventry, we are powering Air-One from hydrogen fuel cells that will also power our fast EV chargers.”
Sandhu told tech site Dezeen: “The EV chargers are for ground transport vehicles so we provide a seamless journey that is zero-emission.”
Hyundai is one of many car manufacturers in the race to commercialise flying taxi services, and plans to commercialise the aerial vehicle by 2028.
Elsewhere inside the building, there will be a passenger lounge, security screening area, restaurants, shops and a designated drone area.
A separate defence and logistics area will house disaster relief operations, airside-mobile-clinics, air evacuation hubs, defence and logistics lines and other emergency services.
Other companies in the electric flying vehicles market include Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer XPeng, which recently revealed a concept flying car.
Slovakian company Klein Vision has also developed AirCar, a vehicle that can travel both on roads and in the air.
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