By Chris Stonor
Volocopter, “a pioneer in Urban Air Mobility (UAM),” announced its commitment this week to launch air taxi services in Singapore after two years of close collaboration with the city, reports a company press release.
Working alongside the Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Volocopter aims to turn air taxi services into a reality within the Southeast Asian city-state over the next three years. This places Singapore in pole position to launch UAM around Asia. In preparation, Volocopter has founded Volocopter Asia Holding and hired Hon Lung Chu as its Head of Asia Pacific in Singapore.
Before launching the services in Singapore, Volocopter’s regulatory approvals will be facilitated by CAAS and EASA’s Working Arrangement on Airworthiness Certification. To achieve this, Volocopter will, together with investors, be conducting comprehensive tests, flight trials and evaluations.
Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, explains, “Singapore is renowned for its leading role in adapting and living new technologies. Our successful cooperation with EDB, MOT, and CAAS on our previous flight has shown that there is no better place in Asia to launch our electric air taxi services than in Singapore.”
He continues, “The city’s research institutes conducting R&D play an integral part in this. Topics like route validation for autonomous operations, material science, and research regarding battery technology are very important for our long-term business success.”
The first route flight is expected to be for tourists over the southern waters, offering views of the Marina Bay skyline. This will create a new attraction for visitors. Later trips could include cross-border commercial flights for passengers, to improve regional connectivity and faster travel between urban areas.
Volocopter plans to increase its flight team to 50 pilots, engineers, operation specialists and business managers during the next 3 years. Meanwhile, the company aims to take on over 200 full-time employees in Singapore to manage a network of Asian routes by 2026.
Tan Kong Hwee, Executive Vice President of EDB, says, “Urban Air Mobility is a growth industry for Singapore. The city is an important regional testbed for autonomous cars, electric vehicles, and UAM including the successful test flight by Volocopter in 2019.”
He continues, “We are glad that Volocopter has chosen Singapore to anchor its commercial and R&D activities. This will help build new capabilities for our mobility ecosystem and create many exciting opportunities for Singapore.”
Tan Kah Han, Senior Director (Unmanned Systems Group) of CAAS, adds, “This partnership offers us an opportunity to co-create regulations and technologies with the industry, facilitating innovation to enable a future mode of transportation for Singapore.”
Founded in 2011 by Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel, Volocopter has 200 employees working in Bruchsal, Munich, and Singapore. In October 2019, Volocopter completed a first air taxi demonstration flight in the heart of Singapore over the Marina Bay area, offering observers a unique opportunity to see what UAM could look like.
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