Greater Paris, saturated urban traffic, smart mobility: the stars have aligned to place VTOL aircraft in the spotlight. But what the heck are VTOL aircraft? They are Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft. In other words, flying cars, or in our case: flying taxis.
As infrastructure managers, our aim is to create vertiports, or airfields designed for helicopters and short take-off aircraft. With our sights set on an ambitious goal: 2024 and the Paris Olympics.
Mobile platforms for flying taxis
We see flying vehicles as a new type of airport activity. That’s why we fully intend to play a leading role in developing this technology both in Paris and internationally.
With this in mind, we are currently developing two vertiport models to meet different capacity needs: a medium-capacity model and a more capacious and prospective model. The two models are based on operating mobile platforms.
The first model may be composed of up to six mobile platforms. The VTOL aircraft can perform its essential operations through the movement of these platforms: landing, offloading passengers, maintenance, boarding passengers and take-off.
VIDEO OU GIF SIMULATION D'UN VTOL
The goal is to build platforms that are compatible with all aircraft in development. Many players are already investing in this new form of mobility.
Several competitors in the field
Developing solutions to the exponential increase in urban traffic is now a growing market, which provides fuel for the research and development of flying taxi projects worldwide.
companies currently working on flying taxi projects, including Boeing, Uber, Volocpter and the Chinese firm Echang
For example, Airbus, through its subsidiary Airbus Helicopter, has already performed the first successful tests of its CityAirbus. This fully automated model can transport up to four people, whereas other models are only two-seaters.
The CityAirbus, which completed its first flight in May 2019
A high-flying partnership
In response to this competition, we have embarked on an ambitious testing program. Our goal is to produce an operational line by 2024 between the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport and a vertiport located near an Olympic site. Eventually, we also plan to operate a CDG-Disneyland Paris line.
As early as 2021, an experimental vertiport will open on one of the ADP Group’s 10 airfields, in order to test every component in this service
Deputy CEO of our Group
To begin, we will test every aspect of the project: ground and in-flight operations (UTM), equipment – including energy and maintenance – and even the pathway for future passengers.
After analyzing the advantages of each airfield based on twenty criteria (safety and security, access, available space, operations and urban environment, etc.), and following discussions with our partners, we will soon announce the location selected for our first experimental vertiport.
Crédit photo : Saranoupgraders via Wikimedia / Licence CC BY-SA 4.0
Established together with the Ile-de-France region and French government services, the project calendar is “demanding and ambitious”, acknowledges Edward Arkwright. This will enable us to study, alongside the Ile-de-France region and the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC), the integration of flying vehicles in urban traffic and to define a business model that will allow this solution to find its place within the mobility landscape.
A tremendous challenge for our Group
Although deployment costs are high, this dependable new means of transport – offering reduced noise and environmental pollution, as well as a low cost for users – is one of the most innovative responses to the current challenges in urban mobility.