Airbus is leading an Air Mobility Initiative, announced this week, that includes research projects aimed at making urban air mobility a reality. (Photo, courtesy of Airbus)

Airbus announced its new Air Mobility Initiative this week that includes Red Cross, Munich Airport, Telekom, Droniq, and several others. The initiative includes a series of research projects that began in January, and the objective is to make urban air mobility a reality—both within and between cities. The Air Mobility Initiative, or AMI, will focus on airport and city integration, unmanned traffic management (UTM) services, and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. 

Supporting the initiative are the Free State of Bavaria, providing €17 million in funding, and the Federal Republic of Germany, providing €24 million. The partners participating in the AMI will carry out test flights in the region around Ingolstadt in Germany. Test flights and other components of the research projects will continue over a period of three years.

The companies and organizations will first determine prerequisites for future advanced air mobility (AAM) implementation, including technological, infrastructure, legal, and social requirements. After determining these prerequisites, the AMI partners will perform a demonstration project with eVTOL aircraft.

According to Airbus, the initiative “will work on take-off and landing sites for the aircraft as well as their integration into airports and cities.” Taking the lead on vertiport research are Munich Airport, Deutsche Bahn, Bauhaus Luftfahrt, Airport Nürnberg, and the universities of Ingolstadt and Munich. 

For the research projects centered around eVTOL development, Airbus will be leading the team along with Diehl Aerospace and the University of Stuttgart. Multiple partners are engaged in research related to UTM and determining how to enable safe and efficient vehicle flight. These partners include, along with Airbus, Droniq, SkyFive, BrigkAir, DFS, f.u.n.k.e. Avionics, Telekom, and multiple universities from Munich.

Airbus Head of Operations for urban air mobility, Markus May, remarked in the company’s announcement, “The introduction of such a system requires the cooperation of many players with different competences. Our goal is to build a transport service that benefits society and this is what we are setting up here in Bavaria.”

Airbus revealed its design for an eVTOL aircraft last September. Called the CityAirbus NextGen, the vehicle is intended for urban air mobility operations and will carry four passengers. The company plans to fly a prototype by 2023, and they expect to achieve certification in 2025.

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