Urban Air Mobility taking shape: Frankfurt airport operator cooperates with Volocopter
With this cooperation, the operation of autonomous passenger drones is taking on concrete forms. In the future, such aircrafts could connect traffic hubs in cities with each other. A connection between Frankfurt Airport and the city is also being examined.
Fraport can already draw on experience with unmanned flying. As part of the “FraDrones” program, the airport operator has already tested various scenarios for the operational use of drones. Volocopter has already been able to prove during test flights in Dubai, among other places, that its electrically operated and vertically taking off multicopter meets the requirements of Urban Aerial Mobility. The Volocopter is based on drone technology, offers space for two people and is designed to meet the requirements of city traffic due to its quiet and emission-free flying. As Germany’s largest air traffic hub with more than 69.5 million passengers (2018), Frankfurt Airport offers interesting framework conditions for such a cooperation.
Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter GmbH, says: “The optimal connection of the city centre to the airport is a huge challenge for almost all major cities in the world. Together with Fraport, tackling the first implementation of an air taxi service at one of Europe’s most important airports is great. We rely on the expertise of Fraport AG to integrate the volocopter service safely and efficiently into the complex processes at a major international airport”.
“Autonomous flying will fundamentally change aviation. We want to be the first airport in Europe to tap the potential of electric air taxis together with the pioneer Volocopter – for the benefit of our passengers and the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region,” explains Anke Giesen, Chief Operations Officer of Fraport AG.
A recent study by management consultancy Horvath assumes that autonomous air taxis could start pilot operation in Germany in 2025 and commercial regular operation in 2035. According to the study, autonomous flying and autonomous driving will in future be available to end customers in parallel as a new mode of transportation. The market dynamics are high. In addition to the aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing, startups are also developing such aircraft. The automotive industry is also involved: Audi is participating in the development of Airbus, while Daimler is funding Volocopter GmbH. Also Intel is among the funders of Volocopter.