Flying cars and drones were the figment of one’s imagination as a futuristic mode of transportation until Aviation and aerospace manufacturing company Urban AirPort announced plans to build its first Air-One transport hub. It is for autonomous delivery drones and air taxis transporting cargo and people to different cities. It is proposed next to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, UK and covers an area of 17,000sqft.
The urban airport will be the world’s first fully-operational ‘pop up’ urban airport and charging hub for future electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) aircraft. It is aimed to increase connectivity across cities and position the UK in the lead in a whole new clean global economy. It will reveal a new airborne world of zero-emission mobility and provide a clean urban air transport to the public.
The current site is chosen because Coventry is the center of the UK and hub for aerospace and automobile industries which puts the area into the picture as a future opportunity for skilled people to make developments in the urban air mobility industry. The city is looked at as a hub shaping the future of electric transport and this urban airport project will bring it to the forefront showcasing the dedicated efforts of the council to articulate a greener future.
It is a multi-functional space providing aircraft controls and commands, refueling, cargo and passenger loading creating an operational hub. Air-one is enveloped in a tensile translucent fabric and constructed from steel and aluminum. It will be powered with hydrogen fuel cells – the same cells being used for the EV chargers that will be provided for charging the ground vehicles. It will reduce the pollution caused from cargo and passenger transportation and create a zero-emission ecosystem.
The center of the domed building houses a 14meter wide launchpad that will act as the launch station for the vehicles. Whenever the vehicle lands on the landing platform it drops down inside the hanger for charging and unloading before the next flight. Other areas of the project include passenger lounge, security screening area, restaurants, shops and a designated drone area. A separate defence and logistics area is also designed with airside-mobile-clinics, air evacuation hubs, disaster relief operations, defence and logistics lines and other emergency services.
The urban airport project received a £1.2 million grant after winning the Government’s Future Flight Challenge. The city became a part of an urban air mobility partnership with UK government backing and the project will act as a major step towards the development of autonomous air vehicles.
The commercialized flying vehicles are being designed by Hyundai motor Group, which is backing up the urban airport project along with the Coventry City Council. The airport will initially teach the masses about the new technology. The Coventry University will host live demonstrations of eVTOL aircraft and UK-based drone developer Malloy Aeronautics will exemplify the use of large cargo drones.
The Coventry urban airport – Air One, is the first of 200 future planned projects of similar kind foreseen to be developed by 2025 worldwide. Another captivating feature of the design is it can be easily dismantled and reassembled which is a beneficial feature in case of disaster and emergency relief situations.