A new partnership in the Netherlands aims to realise the full potential of drones and urban air mobility (UAM).
Set to launch on 1 January 2020, the Dutch Drone Delta alliance brings together 13 organisations including Dutch airline KLM, airport operator Royal Schiphol Group, Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL), Port of Rotterdam and telecoms operator KPN.
UAM will provide passenger transport using air taxis with vertical take-off and landing capability.
As Royal Schiphol Group explained, this new form of mobility will have to be integrated into both air space and ground transport infrastructure.
To help lay the foundations for UAM to be introduced, the partners will conduct a study over the next year year to assess relevant requirements and potential infrastructure locations. An assessment will also be conducted to determine how UAM will impact the living environment.
“We feel it’s important to participate in any promising mobility-related developments,” commented Henk Jan Gerzee, chief digital and innovation officer at Royal Schiphol Group. “That’s why we’re currently working with our partners to explore the future. We want to determine urban air mobilty’s potential in terms of improving airport accessibility.”
The world’s first air taxi operations are expected to launch in the Middle East in 2022, with services expanding rapidly to reach 430,000 units in operation globally by 2040, according to a recent study by Frost & Sullivan.
“Safety, noise levels from propulsion, infrastructure for landing and take-off in urban areas, and favourable regulations will be key focus areas for the commercialisation of air taxis,” said Joe Praveen Vijayakumar, senior industry analyst for mobility at Frost & Sullivan. “Original equipment manufacturers will be looking to especially invest in hybrid fuel systems, lightweight high-strength composite materials, and alternative energy sources such as solar and lightweight high-capacity batteries to achieve fuel efficiency and longer range.”