Volocopter teams with Urban Movement Labs to explore Los Angeles market
By eVTOL | September 15, 2021
Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 39 seconds.
Volocopter is furthering its plans to expand into the U.S. through a partnership with Urban Movement Labs of Los Angeles.
The German eVTOL developer announced the collaboration this week, along with its upcoming presence at the CoMotion LA conference in November. According to a press release, its work with Urban Movement Labs will help inform a policy framework that envisions urban air mobility (UAM) “as a safe, sustainable, and equitable multi-modal transportation component in Los Angeles” — part of the UAM Partnership that Urban Movement Labs announced in December 2020.
“We are executing a community-first strategy to engage with community-based organizations and inform a policy framework that will guide the development of UAM infrastructure in the City of Los Angeles,” explained Sam Morrissey, Urban Movement Labs executive director. “Through our partnership with Volocopter we can explore specific pilot projects to advance a future UAM network that reflects what we hear from Angelenos and establishes standards for future UAM operation.”
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For Volocopter, the collaboration represents “a great entryway into the U.S.,” according to chief commercial officer Christian Bauer. “By leading the conversation about urban air mobility with broad stakeholders in Los Angeles, Volocopter can strategically identify and address how our services can benefit cities in the country. More importantly, we are also gaining real insights into living transportation ecosystems in the U.S. to build the best [complementary] service to other modes of transportation for our future passengers,” he stated.
Volocopter, which is pursuing initial certification of its two-seat VoloCity air taxi from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), announced in January that the Federal Aviation Administration accepted its application for concurrent type certificate validation, which would allow the company to enter the U.S. market soon after EASA certification. The company recently showcased its progress to a U.S. audience at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in July, where it performed crewed demonstrations of its 2X eVTOL prototype.
Los Angeles is widely perceived as an attractive market for urban air mobility in the U.S. Archer has publicly named the city as a launch market, while Joby, Hyundai, and Eve have also intimated interest in L.A. operations.
It’s one thing to develope a workable EVTOL aircraft, but I have seen nothing, not even artistic conceptional drawings, that begin to deal with the downwash VTOLs create during takeoffs and landings. If anyone is serrious about getting “city people”people to get upclose and personal with these wonderful machines, they had better get to work on kiosks that have engenious hydraulic, pneumatic, and underground thrust channeling and baffeling if anyone expects these things to become urban transportation sucesses.
PAX will simply need to stay inside a protected environment until the eVTOL aircraft has powered down. Like a bus stop that’s fully enclosed, doors can be activated autonomously by the aircraft when safe.
Seems like a lot of publicity hype in this article. I have no doubt that the aircraft can be designed and built to take people from one place to another, but where is the air traffic problem addressed? We do not have systems in place to handle hundreds, perhaps thousands of aircraft above a city at low altitudes at the same time. Until a safe, reliable traffic control system is available, all of the “collaborations” will not produce a working air taxi system anywhere.
They’ll start off smaller volume until autonomous aircraft separation is demonstrated similar to the the packs of 500 drones now routinely for years flying multiple formations together inside an area no bigger than a football field with 10’ computer guided separation. That technology is already in place and proven.
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