Hyundai Joined Forces With a UK Startup to Build Over 200 eVTOL Vertiports

With 65 new electric 'micro-airports'.
Chris Young

This decade may well go down as the one in which urban mobility, in the form of eVTOL flying taxis, took to the skies. However, one important question remains: Where will the massive number of aircraft needed to deliver on the promise of urban air mobility (UAM) take off and land?

UK startup Urban-Air Port, in collaboration with the UAM Division of Hyundai, aims to help speed up the process of building the lagging air taxi infrastructure by building and launching the world's first fully operational urban airport (aka vertiport), called Air-One, by early 2020, a press statement from the company reveals.

More eVTOL infrastructure investment is required to deliver on the promise of flying taxis

As Urban-Air Port points out, the eVTOL industry is forecast to hit $1 trillion in the next 20 years. However, only 3 percent of investment into the industry this year has gone towards building air taxi infrastructure — despite the fact that NASA experts warn that infrastructure may be the greatest obstacle towards getting urban air mobility off the ground. Urban-Air Port aims to tackle this infrastructure problem, and its efforts have been bolstered by its partnership with Hyundai's UAM division.

"The deal with the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group is a massive step towards our vision of installing hundreds of urban-air ports worldwide to maintain our position at the forefront of this sector and support the rapid expansion of urban air mobility in this decade," explains Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban-Air Port.

Meeting the global demand for urban air mobility

Urban-Air Port, which describes Air-One as the world's smallest airport, claims that the vertiport will be "the first of more than 200 sites being developed by [the company] in the next five years to meet global demand." It will be built in Coventry, UK, which is a historic hub for the automobile and aerospace industry. Coventry is also fairly centrally located in the United Kingdom, meaning Air-One will allow easy communication with cities throughout the country.

The new project shows that massive infrastructure work is required before eVTOL aircraft become a commercially viable, mainstream form of transport. Thankfully, other firms are also working hard to build this infrastructure, such as German startup Lilium, which announced last year that it is planning the construction of a "launch network" in Florida, "with up to 14 vertiport development sites confirmed, to be built and operated by Lilium’s infrastructure partners." China's eHang, meanwhile, has released footage of the world's first fully operational flying taxi factory, and the company is also developing a vertiport inspired by Africa's baobab tree.

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