A consortium led by Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, and involving Vertical Aerospace and the West of England Combined Authority has been awarded an industrial research grant by the UK Government to look at the feasibility of an air taxi service in the South West Region before conducting a demonstration in a live environment.
The £2.5m project was awarded partial funding through the Government’s Future of Flight Challenge, which was created to find innovative methods of achieving greener flight, finding new ways to travel, increasing mobility, improving connectivity and reducing congestion.
The project being led by Atkins is expected to take 18 months, and will comprise an assessment of the demand for air taxi services in the South West; development of use cases for the technology; and an evaluation of the integration and impact on the wider transportation network, including the region’s airports, as well as the benefits to cities and residents. It will establish viable markets and businesses cases for these services and seek to understand public perceptions and attitudes towards eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft. These activities aim to culminate in a series of full-system demonstrations in live airspace across the region.
Atkins, in addition to managing the project, will provide whole-system enterprise architecture, develop safety cases and create processes for secure passenger identification management.
Vertical Aerospace, a Bristol-based electric aircraft manufacturer will explore vehicle integration, using their eVTOL air taxi. Skyports, an infrastructure provider for the emerging Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry, will be responsible for design, development, operation and airport integration of the physical infrastructure to enable safe and efficient air taxi services.
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