Urban-Air Port’s collabs with Coventry University

Urban-Air Port’s collabs with Coventry University

18-Oct-2022 Source: Urban-Air Port

Urban-Air Port’s innovative vertiport technology, Air One, features extensively in a new paper written by Coventry University. This first of a kind study uses human factors research[i] and VR technology to inform the successful design of infrastructure to support future mobility. The Air One vertiport, built in Coventry City Centre in April of this year, served as a demonstrator of sustainable infrastructure for passenger air taxis and autonomous drones for advanced air mobility.

Designed to be ultra-compact, Air One captures the traditional airport environment and scales it down to fit within a condensed footprint, retaining key operational and passenger processing elements such as check-in and security, as well as retail and food and beverage areas to create an enjoyable traveller experience. A focal area of Coventry University’s experiment involved evaluating this passenger journey through analysis of interaction with the VR simulation.

UAP developed the Air One design early in 2021 for the UKRI’s Future Flight Challenge Phase 2 as part of a successful bid, working with a consortium whose members included Coventry City Council and Coventry University. During this period the UAP design team collaborated with transportation designers at the NTDC to build an immersive VR environment of Air One. UAP provided CAD (Computer Aided Design) models of the infrastructure, which NTDC used to create a 3D environment – much like a computer game – which volunteers for the study could then navigate using a VR headset.

Conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic and under safely controlled conditions, participants in the experiment were given ‘customer journey scenarios’ to complete, for example, visit the Urban-Air Port Café, buy a coffee and then go to your gate to board an eVTOL (Electric vertical take-off & landing) vehicle. Users were then asked to navigate the virtual Air One using signage and wayfinding created by the NTDC. An analysis of the volunteers’ reactions and responses to the virtual environment was assessed to ascertain the level of accessibility and ease of navigation, providing an insight into the effectiveness of the vertiport layout and wayfinding system throughout the infrastructure, a key element in vertiport customer experience.

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