Paris reveals Olympic air-taxi service target

2023-03-23 10:51:33China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The company operating Paris's airports says the French capital aims to have the world's first air taxi network up and flying in time for next year's summer Olympic Games.

The games, which will make the city the focus of world attention and draw a huge number of visitors, run from July 26 to Aug 11, 2024, and are followed by the Paralympics, from Aug 28 to Sept 8.

Speaking at the Amsterdam Drone Week industry gathering, Solene Le Bris, from airports operator Groupe ADP, told delegates "we are going to make it happen".

"We are trying to launch the first e-VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) pre-commercial service in the world: that's our ambition."

The first of five so-called vertiports is at Cergy-Pontoise, northwest of Paris. It opened last November and is currently being used as a test center.

Initially, the vehicles, called VoloCity air taxis, will take one passenger and one pilot at a time along two short routes between the city's air terminals, using existing helicopter flight paths.

Once safety certification is achieved, the real test of the new technology's feasibility will be public reaction during the games.

"The second step is the Olympics and Paralympics," said Romain Erny, head of aerospace and mobility at government business agency Choose Paris Region.

"The main lesson is to see how the people react to these new type of services. For most of the citizens in Paris, (they) are still science fiction. They need to touch it, to be inside the vehicle, and we need their feedback. The Olympics are the start."

Although use of the vehicles as a public transport service still requires much development and practical issues to be resolved, Le Bris said the new service could also be developed for the city's hospitals.

"We are also looking at the use of e-VTOL for medical purposes, with Paris hospitals," she explained. "Emergency doctors say if you reach the site one minute earlier in a heart attack you increase the chances of survival by 10 percent."

The potential of air taxis is being explored by many countries at the moment.

Earlier this week, the United States government released a report about its priorities in the field of what it called advanced air mobility, which could lead the way in developing new technology and also advancing environmental policies.

Internet of things website IOT World Today reported that recently, a Gen4 Prosperity I eVTOL craft made by Shanghai-based company AutoFlight had broken the record for the longest single-charge flight by an eVTOL craft.

The 250.2 kilometer journey, which lasted just over 90 minutes, edged just ahead of the previous longest flight, 247.9km, recorded by US company Joby Aviation in 2021.

The Moveelectric e-vehicle news website reported that following the record-breaking flight, the company had received an order for 205 Prosperity machines from start-up EVFLY, which hopes to use them for cargo deliveries in the Middle East.


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