Volocopter air taxi successfully integrated into controlled airspace


Volocopter performed a flight at the Helsinki International Airport successfully integrated into both the Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) system. Volocopter, who specialise in Urban Air Mobility, presented its newest air taxi design last month called the VoloCity.

The VoloCity will be the fourth-generation electrical take-off and landing aircraft by the German developer. The aircraft has been designed to meet the safety standards specified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (SC-VTOL category enhanced) and incorporates user feedback as well as test data from all previous Volocopter generations. Air Traffic Management (ATM) is an essential part of aviation, keeping all air traffic participants in controlled airspace safe and ensuring efficient operations. Today, the system is primarily used by commercial airliners. New aviation technologies such as drones or air taxis plan to fly in the Very Low-Level Airspace (VLL), which is not yet controlled. Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) is the technological pillar of Europe’s ambitious Single European Sky (SES) initiative to create one coordinated and integrated airspace for commercial, general and drone aviation alike. It pools all EU research and development activities in ATM, with more than 3,000 experts from around the world to develop the new generation of ATM. “As air traffic continues to rise in number and kinds – especially with the arrival of unmanned aircrafts and air taxis, the technology and rules for using VVL airspace needs updating, “ said project coordinator Maria Tamm from Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS). Volocopter performed a series of tests with three different leading UTM service providers, namely AirMap, Altitude Angel and Unifly participating in the project for UTM systems and services for the VLL airspace. The providers were tested for compatibility, functionality and usability. For the tests, Volocopter integrated the necessary software and hardware (position report sensor) to perform different test scenarios including ground tests, unmanned and piloted flights. It shows that Volocopter can avail itself of a variety of existing UTM services once in operation. “We are happy to say that all providers we tested were compatible with the Volocopter systems,” said Jan-Hendrik Boelens, CTO of Volocopter. “As a member of the SESAR consortium, we have the rare opportunity to work at the forefront of integrating ATM/UTM with all relevant stakeholders at the table: regulators, airports, air navigation service providers and UTM providers. This pan-European ATM initiative puts another indispensable part of Urban Air Mobility ecosystem into place. We know that air taxi technology is viable: certification has been defined by the EASA, we will build our first VoloPort infrastructure before the year is out and with the GOF U-Space demonstration we have now shown that the existing UTM technologies are viable for UAM. The indispensable aspects of the ecosystem exist, now it’s time to bring Urban Air Mobility to life.” 

Image credit: Volocopter

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