Saturday, December 2, 2023

Volocopter, SITA partner to develop digital infrastructure for vertiports

The urban air mobility (UAM) sector is rapidly moving from imagination to reality. It will offer a new form of sustainable aviation, replete with multiple mobility options to cities worldwide. Companies around the world are racing to fast-track the development of electric air taxis. And the Germany-based Volocopter is one of them.

The startup has now collaborated with SITA, the world’s leading IT provider to the air transport industry, on digital infrastructure for vertiports. SITA has been selected as Volocopter’s preferred digital and IT systems partner for vertiports. SITA has also become the latest investor to join Volocopter’s Series E funding round, cementing the strategic vision espoused by this partnership.

Volocopter’s launch product, the VoloCity electric air taxi, will operate routes in congested megacities to offer future passengers stable, quiet, and safe flights. Flights can be hailed via designated boarding points (or “vertiports”). And the partnership, therefore, has the potential to shape aviation industry standards.

The VoloCity is a fully electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (eVTOL) equipped with 18 rotors that stick to a narrow frequency range. Its motors will be powered by nine rechargeable batteries. The eVTOL has a range of up to 22 miles (35 km) and a top speed of up to 68 mph (110 km/h), making it well-suited to short urban hops.

SITA will deploy its expertise in air transport for the emerging UAM industry, developing new operating standards and a digital-first passenger experience. Its portfolio includes a wide range of IT solutions, including airport management and operations, passenger operations, flight and aircraft operations, baggage processing, and border management.

Volocopter’s digital operating system, the VoloIQ, connects all partners, thus enabling a holistic service. The VoloIQ, therefore, enables a digital-first approach that will translate to end-to-end passenger air transportation experiences. This cloud-based system is in the process of being certified by the relevant aviation authorities.

“Volocopter is in pole position to make electric air taxis a reality, benefiting from its first-mover advantage,” said Sergio Colella, SITA president for Europe. “At SITA, we will play a key role in delivering this new digital UAM world and defining a seamless, smarter approach to air travel in a city environment. Together we will turn the theory into practice as early as 2024, when we expect the first commercial eVTOLs to take flight.”