World’s First Airport For Electric Flying Cars To Open In UK This Year
Coventry is set to become a global pioneer after the city unveiled plans to open the world’s first pop-up airport for flying cars.
The West Midlands city has been selected by South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai to launch the pop-up airport, in collaboration with British company Urban Air Port, which would serve as a take-off and landing point for flying cars, air taxis and autonomous drones.
A world where flying cars zip about above our heads might seem pretty far off, but with construction of the Air-One airport slated for completion this November, it looks like it could be closer than we think.
The project recently won government approval after receiving a £1.2 million grant from the UK Research and Innovation’s Future Flight Challenge. Coventry City Council and local MPs have also backed the plans, which would see the ‘ultra-compact’ 14-metre diameter airport constructed in a former car park next to the Ricoh Arena stadium.
According to Urban Air Port, the pop-up site would take a matter of days to construct and dismantle, meaning it could easily be moved to other locations and cities. The zero-emissions off-grid airport, which would be slightly smaller than an average heliport, is set to feature an elevated landing pad that descends into a hangar for charging and loading, take-off and landing runways, as well as waiting rooms for passengers, charging stations for non-flying electric vehicles, and a viewing platform for anyone wanting a closer glimpse of the future of travel.
Electric flying vehicles – officially called electrical vertical take-off and landing aircraft, or eVOTL – are expected to become a significant player in the transport industry over the next decade, with NASA predicting ‘urban air mobility’ tech could be worth $500bn in the US alone in the near future.
Hyundai is one of the leading companies working on the technology, and last year unveiled its first air taxi design, the S-A1, in collaboration with Uber. The S-A1 is designed to fly on trips of up to 60 miles, and is capable of reaching a cruising speed of up to 180mph with a charging time of less than 10 minutes. In a press release, Hyundai said it planned to create 200 similar sites to Air One over the next five years.
Ricky Sandhu, founder of Urban Air Port, said that his company’s collaboration with Hyundai would ‘help the UK to take the lead in a whole new clean global economy’. In a statement following the project’s announcement, he said, ‘Flying cars used to be a futuristic flight of fancy. Air-One will bring clean urban air transport to the masses and unleash a new airborne world of zero emission mobility.’
The Times reports that the Air One airport will be unveiled in a month-long demonstration as part of Coventry’s year as the UK’s City of Culture 2021, with the potential for a more permanent location to be opened in the future.
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