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Volocopter is entering the new year with some impressive figures. The startup topped its Series C Fundraising at 122 million Euros, sold 1000 reservations for VoloCity flights in less than a month, signed a cooperation agreement with JAL to advance UAM services in Japan and is now working with Groupe ADP, RATP Groupe, and the Paris region to eventually launch services there as well, ahead of the 2024 Olympics.

The company also published the world’s first feasibility study of piloted multicopter use in air rescue missions alongside ADAC Luftrettung, which became the first to reserve two VoloCity aircrafts to continue their operational testing. Following this, Volocopter launched the development of its UAM digital platform VoloIQ with Lufthansa Industry Solutions and made its first Asian city announcement in Singapore. It is fair to say that 2020 was a good year for the Volocopter team. 

Fabien Nestmann, Volocopter’s Vice President of Global Public Affairs, is optimistic that 2021 will bring further triumph for the brand. 

“I think we have really been able to adapt quickly to the restrictions we’ve all experienced due to Covid and used this as an opportunity to focus on strategically planning our next steps to make 2021 even more successful.”

As you can expect, the global pandemic has hit the aviation industry hard. International travel has been completely halted in certain parts of the world; urban areas less so, but there are still restrictions that are preventing development in a relatively new industry. Nevertheless, the focus has continued to be on what everyone can do to overcome the challenges facing this industry. 

“In terms of urban air mobility, I think we have made substantial progress to work with cities and regulators to promote future industrial development. We have seen this in the Paris Region’s Sandbox and EASA connecting with CAAS Singapore to make certification a simpler process internationally,” says Nestmann. “Taking JAL or DB Schenker as an example, we are seeing experienced airline and logistic companies investing in UAM options. This year may have been a bit slower than usual, but the momentum and drive for UAM implementation are still very present.”

Volocopter 2x

VoloIQ

Volocopter is working with Lufthansa Industry Solutions to develop VoloIQ, which Nestmann says is the “backbone of our UAM ecosystem.” VoloIQ will have six components that connect the different parts of the UAM ecosystem to promote seamless mobility in cities around the world. 

“It will connect the ecosystems we currently have with new services for global-scale air taxi operations,” he continues. “This digital twin is going to be the tool that opens Volocopter’s services to the integration with smart cities, other mobility providers, and more.”

Lufthansa Industry Solutions is vital to developing VoloIQ through its industry-leading knowledge of large-scale aircraft operations and aviation processes to build a game-changing platform.

Nestmann explains that VoloIQ will be the backbone of the urban air mobility ecosystem, connecting important aspects such as routing, booking, infrastructure management, and more in one place. “On the one hand, this platform will create seamless mobility. On the other hand, the platform will create opportunities for third parties in the industry to integrate their services into the platform with our services,” he says. 

VoloIQ will be based on Microsoft’s Azure platform, which will make the platform secure, robust, efficient, and scalable. These attributes are all necessary to develop this kind of UAM platform.  

Volocopter 2x You And The City

Building the Future of Urban Aviation 

Currently, there are no active air taxi services in the world today, meaning someone needs to get the ball rolling. Volocopter has been hard at work developing innovation and regulations to help launch urban aviation in the next few years. Nestmann believes that VoloQ will help work towards a globally scalable service. 

“Just look at the progress we’ve made this year,” he says. “Part of that is due to our determination at Volocopter to make a safe, certified product for commercial launch in the next two to three years. Another part of that should be accredited to cities and regulators around the world who are making progressive steps to investigate, test, and implement this level of mobility. With VoloIQ, the ball will only roll faster to launching a globally scalable service.”

VoloIQ will give Volocopter the necessary and visible connectivity needed to coordinate, organise and scale air taxi services. Since the company is developing this alongside its VoloCity, the first commercially licensed Volocopter, it is looking towards a complete air taxi service once launched.

“We can show cities what the service is, how it will work, and very importantly, how this service can be integrated into their existing structures. By showing that with our VoloCity and VoloIQ, we can scale air taxi services faster,” adds Nestmann. 

So, despite an arduous year for the mobility industry, it has also been one of opportunity.  

“Mobility providers, cities, and regulators had time to take a pause and reassess how they wanted to move forward. I think the timeline will be very similar to what we projected before, and I think the planning and strategizing we’ve had extra time for this year will pay off in the near future, even if not being able to meet in person does have some impact.”

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