20-Feb-2020 Source: Volocopter
German Urban Air Mobility pioneer Volocopter and Southeast Asia’s largest everyday super app Grab announced that they will conduct a joint feasibility study on urban air mobility as part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore the prospect of urban air mobility solutions in the region’s megacities.
The feasibility study will look into the most suitable cities and routes to deploy air taxis in Southeast Asian cities; evaluate the best use cases for air taxis, and explore the possibility of joint flight tests, among other things.
The findings will lay the groundwork for potential future cooperation between both companies which could include launching services related to urban air mobility. Both companies aim to help solve mobility issues and improve the quality of life through technological innovations.
Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter: “This cooperation is another important step towards the commercialization of Urban Air Mobility in one of the most traffic congested regions of the world. Together, we will learn from unprecedented insights into the economic and societal opportunity of launching our services on the hottest routes in the Southeast Asian Market. This collaboration also offers the potential for a much larger cooperation which could eventually extend intermodal mobility to the skies.”
Volocopter has been pioneering the development of urban air mobility since the company proved in 2011 that electrically powered vertical flight is indeed possible for humans. With flights in Dubai, Las Vegas, Helsinki, Stuttgart, and most recently Singapore, the technology is maturing towards certification quickly. For the flight over Singapore’s Marina Bay, the company worked closely with the local Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). Recently, Volocopter has been certified as a Design Organisation by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and works in close collaboration with them to receive the necessary permits to start commercial operations.
Chris Yeo, Head of Grab Ventures, said: “As a superapp that operates across 339 cities in Southeast Asia, Grab has gathered traffic patterns and customer insights in the region that can help our teams come up with the most innovative mobility solutions to plug the gaps in the transport landscape. This partnership will enable Volocopter to further develop urban air mobility solutions that are relevant for Southeast Asian commuters so they can decide on their preferred journey option based on their budgets, time constraints and other needs, in a seamless way.”
Grab is the leading everyday super app in Southeast Asia, providing everyday services that matter most to consumers. Today, the Grab app has been downloaded onto over 163 million mobile devices, giving users access to over 9 million drivers, merchants and agents. Grab has the region’s largest land transportation fleet and has completed over 4 billion rides since its establishment in 2012. Grab offers the widest range of on-demand transport services in the region, in addition to food, package delivery, digital payments and financial services, across 339 cities in eight Southeast Asian countries.
The pioneer in the development of electrical air taxis that take off and land vertically (eVTOLs), Volocopter builds aircraft that are based on drone technology and carry two people. The company will establish Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in addition to current transportation options in megacities. The aim is to offer affordable on-demand air taxi services and save people time by flying them safely to their destination. Volocopter cooperates with leading partners in infrastructure, operations, and air traffic management to build the air taxi infrastructure necessary to bring Urban Air Mobility to life. In 2011 Volocopter performed the first-ever manned flight of a purely electrical multicopter and has since showcased numerous public flights with its full-scale, two-seat aircraft, most notably the autonomous flight in Dubai in cooperation with the local Road and Transport Administration (RTA) in 2017. Founded in 2011 by Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel, Volocopter has more than 150 employees in offices in Bruchsal, Munich and Singapore. The company is managed by CEO Florian Reuter, CTO Jan-Hendrik Boelens, and CFO Rene Griemens, and has raised a total of EUR 85 million. Volocopter investors include Daimler, Geely, and Intel.