The “vertical port” for Air-One, drones and electric vehicles landing vertically in the future, was first claimed by such advertisers as they herald a new era of future, low-carbon aviation.
The facility, located in a former car factory in Coventry, central England, will be a showcase for the growing industry for a month.
The maiden aircraft marked a box containing six bottles of sparkling wine weighing about 12 kg from the launch pad.
The commercial drone used – a Malloy aeronautics T150 borrowed from the British military – is the largest flying machine in such an urban environment, says Ricky Chandu, founder and chief executive of the British company Urban-Airport behind the project.
“They are the world’s first fully operational vertical harbor,” Alley told guests at the venue. “This is a start-up sector, of course, but it is just starting to gain real momentum now,” he added.
Urban-Airport builds the ground infrastructure for autonomous delivery drones and air taxis, which is expected to be built by the end of this decade, and spent last year preparing its presentation in Coventry.
The temporary installation of Air-One, near the city’s train station, aims to show how the integrated hub for these devices operates in a saturated urban suburb.
The company plans to hold similar demonstrations in the UK and around the world in the coming months, with the aim of setting up more than 200 such venues around the world.
“Vertical ports” are designed to easily assemble and disassemble and “create zero emissions” of CO2 using hydrogen fuel cells.
The company says it has orders valued at 65 65 million, with plans in place in the US, Australia, France, Germany, Scandinavia and Southeast Asia.
One of the partners in this project is the South Korean car company Hyundai US subsidiary Supernal, which is developing the concept for an autonomous flying electric vehicle to carry passengers.
“We are focused on creating the ecosystem that will allow this new technology to thrive,” Supernell business director Michael Whittaker told AFP. “Without vertical ports, without landings, there would be no business.”
Supernal wants the eight-rotor all-electric concept vehicle on display at Air-One to be certified for 2024 before starting serial production.
“We will see some activity in this decade, but I hope the 2030s will really be a decade of advanced wind movement, and from there, it will start to spread everywhere,” Whittaker said.
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