As mobility continues to evolve one of the biggest changes we will see in the next few years will be the introduction of a new mode of transport, the ‘flying taxi’ as it has been called. More formally known as an electric vertical take off and landing aircraft or eVTOL for short, I predict these state-of-the-are vehicles will be in our skies within the next three to five years. What is just as important is where these aircraft will take off and land and who or what they will transport.
There are many well-established OEM’s and new start-up companies that are developing eVTOL and large Industrial Drones and there is a race to receive regulatory airworthiness certification and approval going on as we speak. By their nature eVTOL will be small, agile and use electricity as fuel. Initially eVTOL will have a pilot and be able to transport 4 passengers. However, these aircraft as with the Industrial Drones are being built and developed with autonomy in mind so eventually there will be no need for an on-board pilot.
Arcadis has been focused on developing tools and expertise to support this emerging new mode around the locations where these aircraft will take off and land, commonly known as Vertiports. There are a number of challenges that every site or operator will need to consider and overcome; I call these the 6 P’s:
- Plan – What is an organisations roll-out strategy for Vertiports.
- Place – Where do you locate Vertiports.
- Permits – How do you secure the required planning permissions or permits to operate.
- Perception – How can you gain the support to build Vertiports.
- Power – How can you meet the needs of the eVTOL aircraft that will use the Vertiport.
- Payment – What is the business case and how will Vertiports be commercially viable.
Arcadis has been working with clients to answer these challenges and to design and develop their Vertiport solutions so that, in the near future, the eVTOL and Industrial Drones will have somewhere they can safely pick up and drop off people and parcels in and around our urban areas and beyond.