‘Air-One’ drone airport opens in Coventry, UK
April 25, 2022
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  • In the UK, Urban-Air Port is opening “Air-One”, the showcase of a fully-operational hub for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles and autonomous cargo drones. 

    With backing by the UK Government and support from Supernal, Urban-Air Port will operate Air-One in Coventry for a period of at least one month. Air-One will serve as a prototype for the more than 200 vertiports that Urban-Air Port is planning to launch worldwide over the course of the next five years. 

    Supernal is a subsidiary of Hyundai and announced its aerial taxi plans in November last year. The establishment of the subsidiary is related to Hyundai’s increased involvement in its Urban Air Mobility business, which aims to advance the group’s vision of future mobility in urban environments. 

    “The Air-One activation is an important step for the Advanced Air Mobility industry and demonstrates how eVTOLs can easily integrate with existing transportation networks to address local needs,” said Mike Whitaker, chief commercial officer, Supernal. “The reality is no single mode of transportation – current or future – can solve cities’ traffic and congestion challenges. Supernal is working with partners like Urban-Air Port to design infrastructure that brings multiple modes of transportation together under one ‘roof’ and enable AAM to reach its full potential.” 

    Supernal and Urban-Air Port began collaborating on the Air-One in 2020. The two companies have joined forces to support future AAM operations related to building infrastructure networks. Here, the companies are busy with designing physical prototypes and shaping operational procedures. 

    It took just 11 weeks to erect the 17,000 square-foot radial Air-One. The vertiport is divided into fully outfitted “zones.” This includes a passenger lounge, café, retail pop-up, cargo logistics hub, electric and hydrogen air vehicle hangar, security screening, command and control center. A 56-foot circular final approach and takeoff (FATO) platform raises 19 feet in the sky using a compact synchronized link-lift system to enable future electric air vehicle takeoffs and landings. 

    The Air One is also home to Supernal’s initial concept eVTOL vehicle, S-A1, which is on display in the vehicle hangar, along with several new electric vehicles connected to EV chargers on the vertiport’s exterior, which are powered by off-grid hydrogen fuel cells. Demonstrations are to be held with drones from the FATO. 

    The vertiport is located in Coventry and open to the public. Supernal and Urban Port say that the vertiport will be redeployed in additional cities worldwide later this year. The two companies say they want to “continue highlighting future Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) passenger journeys and operations first-hand.”