A new form of transport

How about a ride from the airport to the city in an unmanned flying taxi?

At ILA Berlin representatives of politics and industry exchanged views on Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) in Germany, the opportunities it presents and the hurdles involved. The panel members discussed how the development of unmanned and electrically powered aerial vehicles could be accelerated as well as conceivable applications.

How about a ride from the airport to the city in an unmanned flying taxi? If Florian Reuter, CEO von Volocopter, has his way this will soon become reality. The Volocity his company has designed is a two-seater already successfully tested in several countries which is also on show at ILA Berlin 2022. Volocopter, based in Bruchsal in Baden, benefits from its proximity to other industries, universities and research organisations. However, speaking at the high-level panel discussion entitled ’Europeans' novel way of moving: AAM Advancing Mobility’ in Hall 3 at ILA Berlin, he said the German pioneers of electric aviation found their markets and investors mostly abroad.

Dr. Markus May, managing director at Airbus Urban Mobility, took a similar view. In Bavaria, Airbus is in charge of a project whose aim is to realise inter-city electric flight. In Markus May’s opinion, it would be desirable for technology developed in Germany to be put to use in this country. That would require a corresponding testing infrastructure in Germany and working with airports to establish it.

Support at European level

Dr. Anna Christmann, federal government aerospace coordinator and digital economy and startup commissioner, highlighted the many possibilities at German and European level for funding innovative and eco-friendly technologies. She also pointed to the test circuit in Cochstedt in Saxony-Anhalt, where the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is setting up a national test centre for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Throughout Germany, special laboratories made it possible to test innovative products and services under real-life conditions. Regarding these new electric aircraft she envisaged various applications. She imagined their selective use at certain events instead of “flying taxis for everybody”. Electric aircraft could conceivably be of use for transporting medical drugs too.

According to Dr. Joachim Lücking, head of Aviation Safety, DG MOVE, European Commission, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) supported these new transport solutions. However, regulations still had to be adapted to suit the new aircraft.

The panel members agreed that in two years time AAM will have overcome other major obstacles and be certain to occupy an even more prominent role at ILA Berlin 2024.