The consortium developing an urban air mobility eco system for Paris has announced the industrial partners who will start testing systems and platforms in June 2021 at the Pontoise – Cormeilles-en-Vexin aerodrome.
The RATP Group, the ADP Group and Choose Paris consortium identified five component areas for testing:
- The vehicle: for manufacturers and equipment suppliers (batteries, avionics, etc);
- Infrastructure: for energy companies or vertiport designers;
- Operations: for providers of intermodal solutions, maintenance, or digital networking platforms;
- Integration into the airspace: for suppliers of Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) or communication / navigation systems;
- Acceptability: for research laboratories and study institutes, around societal and environmental issues.
One of the key selection criteria defined beforehand was that of the maturity of the solution.
According to a consortium press release:
“From June 2021, in close collaboration with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) and with the support of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Eurocontrol…parking, take-off and landing operations can be tested in a real aeronautical environment at Pontoise, or even operations around the vehicle, whether maintenance or electric recharging. The selected candidates join Volocopter, a manufacturer of a vertical take-off electric vehicle (eVTOL), which will be the first industrial player to test its VoloCity vehicle as of June 2021.
“The selected players will now be able to share their expertise, identify synergies and deploy tests in the coming months on the aerodrome of Pontoise-Cormeilles en Vexin.
“The success of this call for expressions of interest has in fact made it possible to bring together major industrial players of reference in air mobility such as Airbus, through young international companies, to major educational and research such as UC Berkeley and the National School of Civil Aviation.
In addition, the prospect of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games constitutes an exceptional opportunity to mobilize a sector, in order to prepare a demonstrator for this horizon, and to make Île-de-France a benchmark on the world market of urban air mobility.”
The winners in the five categories are :
For the vehicle category
Airbus (France): aircraft manufacturer; – Ascendance Flight Technologies (France): manufacturer of the Atea hybrid passenger transport VTOL; Ehang (China): manufacturer of electric passenger transport VTOLs; H3 Dynamics (Singapore): developer of hydrogen VTOL systems; Pipistrel (Slovenia): manufacturer of electric aircraft and logistics VTOLs; Safran Electronics & Defense (France): manufacturer of the Patroller drone and solutions and services in optronics, avionics, electronics and critical software for civil or military applications; Vertical Aerospace (United Kingdom): manufacturer of the eVTOL VA-1X for passenger transport; Volocopter (Germany): manufacturer of electric vehicle with vertical take-off (eVTOL); Zipline(United States): manufacturer and operator of logistics drones.
For the operations category
Air France (France): contribution expected in several areas, particularly in the area of aircraft maintenance and repair; CAE (Canada): flight training technologies via modelling and simulation; Dassault Falcon Services (France): subsidiary of Dassault Aviation specializing in maintenance operations and other services intended for business aviation; ESTACA (France): engineering school specializing in mobility and aeronautical techniques (including aircraft maintenance); Helifirst (France): helicopter airline company specializing in business aviation; Helipass (France): digital platform for booking helicopter flights.
For the infrastructure category
Green Motion (Switzerland): supplier of charging systems for electric vehicles; IDEMIA I&S (France): specialist in digital security, biometrics and identification / authentication solutions; Leosphere (France): Lidar equipment to generate advanced weather forecasts; Skyports (United Kingdom): designer and operator of vertiports and logistics VTOLs.
For the airspace integration category
Cergy University and ESSEC (France): group of universities and schools bringing together 25,000 students, including the first Junior Enterprise in Europe; ENAC (France): civil aviation engineering school with a drone systems chair; Internest (France): precision positioning solution allowing automatic landings in degraded environments; M3 Systems (Belgium): on-board high performance geolocation applications; Thales SIX (France): on-board interoperable collision avoidance systems.
For the acceptability category
Bruitparif (France): technical assessment centre for the sound environment in Ile-de-France; École Polytechnique (France): engineering school with a Masters specializing in technological innovation and new economic models; Envirosuite (Australia): provider of digital technology platform for localized data collection to improve environmental performance. Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California Berkeley, NEXTOR (United States): university research centre in the field of mobility and transport; ONERA (France): public research establishment in aeronautics, space and defence; Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (Netherlands): centre of expertise, advice and research in aeronautics.
According to Edward Arkwright, Executive Director General of Groupe ADP: “The success of this call for expressions of international interest testifies to a strong mobilization around the structuring of an air mobility sector in Île-de-France. Alongside all these industrial, teaching and research players, and thanks to the establishment of an unprecedented test area in Europe at our Pontoise aerodrome, we will now be able to accelerate its development. The integration of the test area within the aerodrome was the subject of collaborative work with teams from the DGAC. Today, Groupe ADP wishes to explore and make possible all the futures of aviation, carbon-free and innovative.”
Catherine Guillouard , Chair and CEO of the RATP group, said: “After the inauguration of a test area on September 30, 2020, the urban air mobility sector has just taken a new step with this call for expressions of interest, which was a real success. As a partner of cities, the RATP group is happy to contribute to the development of this new mobility, complementary to our historic modes of transport, and to its good integration into the urban environment with a view to the 2024 Olympic Games.”
And Franck Margain, President of the Choose Paris Region agency, added: “The success of this call for expressions of interest conducted alongside the ADP group and the RATP group demonstrates the international attractiveness of the Île-de-France and the importance our region represents for the development of the industries of the future. Through the collaboration of public and private actors, and by inviting innovative companies from around the world to join us to complete our value chain, we are constituting a unique ecosystem to develop urban air mobility, to strengthen the future attractiveness of our region, and to support responsible industries and employment”.
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