As the buzz around flying taxis grows, an Indian-origin entrepreneur, Ricky Sandhu, has made his dream come true by demonstrating the first-ever airport for air taxis and delivery drones in the UK.
The world’s first fully-operational airport for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and drone technology, the ‘Air-One’ in the city of Coventry is currently hosting demonstrator flights.
The hub for flying taxis and delivery drones is open to the public till the middle of May, reports the BBC.
Sandhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of the company Urban-Air Port, said that he delivered Air-One in 15 months.
“In a couple of years, the community from here can be flying to places like London within 20 minutes, saving so much time. Our job is to pave the way,” Sandhu was quoted as saying in the report.
The 18,299 sq feet facility is a “prefabricated vertiport designed for both rapid assembly and disassembly”.
Cargo loading for unmanned drones will also be demonstrated following the opening of Air One in the Westminster Road car park area.
West Midlands Police said their drones team would also be there to showcase equipment.
According to Sandhu, air taxis will be coming very soon, in about two years’ time.
“But cargo drones are already flying, doing lots of deliveries not only in and around the country, but also around the world… They need a coordinated piece of infrastructure and that’s where we come in,” he added.
Urban-Air Port is developing global networks of specialist ground, air and digital infrastructure to support urban logistics worldwide.
According to the company, its drones have the exciting possibility to help reduce logistics and delivery congestion on our roads in a sustainable, eco-friendly, zero-emission way, cutting emissions by up to 47 per cent when compared to light commercial vehicles.
The ‘vertiports’ are designed to be highly flexible, catering to four different markets: Passenger air taxis, autonomous delivery drones, disaster emergency management and defence operations and logistics.
They can be operated completely off-grid using on-site hydrogen fuel cell, zero-emission generation.
Urban-Air Port said it will generate revenue through an ‘infrastructure-as-a-service’ model, enabling customers to decide the level of service they require.