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Volocopter, the first industrial player to test their full-scale electrical air taxi in the Paris Region.

Paris region, Groupe ADP and RATP Groupe announce the structuring of the Urban Air Mobility industry branch with the creation of a test area at Pontoise airfield and the opening of a call for expressions of interest.

In the current context of environmental transition in air transport, economic recovery, and urban densification, Paris region, Groupe ADP and RATP Group aim to develop an urban air mobility industry branch, with a focus on the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL).

Velocopter Event

 

The partners have therefore decided to bring together all the conditions to make the emergence of this new mode of transport possible to complement the existing modes, whether for the public or for goods. Furthermore, the prospect of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games provides an exceptional opportunity to involve an entire industry and to make Paris Region a leader in the global market of Urban Air Mobility. Volocopter, the German electric air taxi company and pioneer of Urban Air Mobility, reinforces the project’s feasibility by bringing its 9 years of aviation experience to the initiative.

“The structuring and development of an Air Mobility branch on the airfield of Pontoise – Cormeilles-en-Vexin is both consistent with the Recovery Plan initiated by Paris Region, and in line with the key takeaways of Paris Region recent COP 2020 conference. It also falls within the scope and priorities of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic games. As a result, this event represents an invaluable opportunity to involve the entire Aviation Industry and demonstrate the unique qualities of Paris Region as an area of reference within the global Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market.” for Valérie Pécresse, President of Paris Region.

A life-size test area in Pontoise

Facing the challenges raised by this new form of mobility in terms of use, acceptability, regulations, technologies, and industrialization, the chosen approach is to offer a unique test area at the Pontoise airfield, profiting from a real and secure aeronautical environment in a suburban location, 35 km northwest of Paris. In the first half of 2021, necessary arrangements will be made, first on the airside, then on the boarding areas inside the buildings (suitable parking areas, electrical recharging systems, and ground markings). In cooperation with DGAC (Civil Aviation Authority), parking, take-off and landing operations, as well as operations around the vehicle, whether maintenance or electrical recharging, will be tested in a real aeronautical environment in June 2021.

Launch of an international call for expressions of interest

Additionally, in order to construct an ecosystem of large groups, SMEs, start-ups, laboratories, and universities in the Paris Region over the long term, a worldwide call for expressions of interest has been launched with the support of the Choose Paris Region agency. Applications will be open on 1 October until 13 November 2020 on the website: www.reinventairmobility.com. The selected projects will be announced on 18 December 2020.

It covers all the components of Urban Air Mobility:

  1. Vehicle development for manufacturers and equipment suppliers (batteries, avionics, etc.)
  2. Urban infrastructure for energy companies or vertiport designers
  3. Operations for suppliers of intermodal solutions, maintenance, or digital platforms
  4. Airspace integration for suppliers of unmanned traffic management (UTM) or communication/navigation systems
  5. Acceptability for laboratories or research institutes dealing with social and environmental issues

Volocopter, with its track record of successful public flights in Singapore, Helsinki, and Dubai, is the first industrial player to position itself as a partner.

Florian Reuter, CEO Volocopter, says: “We are incredibly excited to be the eVTOL manufacturer of choice in the Paris region’s Urban Air Mobility project. We will open our first commercial air taxi routes in the next 2-3 years and are excited to have a potential launching partner here in Europe.”

“The structuring of an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) industry around the vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is vital for the attractiveness of Paris Region. The growth of this industry will contribute to the development of environmentally friendly industrial solutions and offer Paris Region a unique mix of urban multimodal transportation systems. Choose Paris Region will lead the Call for Interest by capitalizing on its technological expertise and international network to identify French and international companies which will be involved in the launch of this cutting-edge sector” said Franck Margain, President of Choose Paris Region.

“Today, we aim at exploring and enabling the development of all potential futures of a decarbonized and innovative aviation. Urban Air Mobility, driven by an all-electric vehicle capable of a vertical takeoff and landing, will be able to take-off and accelerate its development through the establishment of a sandbox at our Pontoise airfield, a unique testing opportunity in Europe. In partnership with Paris Region and RATP group, and in the framework of an international call for expression of interest, we are strongly positioned to federate a unique ecosystem in Paris Region, by combining our infrastructures assets, our know-how and expertise in terms of mobility and our territorial anchoring.”  noted Edward Arkwright, Deputy CEO of Groupe ADP.

According to Catherine Guillouard, Chairwoman and CEO of RATP Group, “after a first major partnership with Airbus, it is only natural that RATP Group pursue its ambitions in the air taxi sector towards a new phase, accelerating the rollout of the urban air mobility industry branch. For RATP Group, this new mobility actively complements our traditional transport modes. By inaugurating this trial area and launching this call for expressions of interest at an international scale alongside Groupe ADP and with the support of the Île-de-France Region, we intend to be a privileged partner of the smart cities of tomorrow and make good use of our human and technical expertise”.

Choose Paris Region

Choose Paris Region is a catalyst for business and innovation which supports international companies willing to expand in the Paris Region. As a non-profit governmental agency, Choose Paris Region works with local public entities to provide free tailor-made services. Choose Paris Region brings its deep market and industry expertise together with an extensive network to support international companies in building tech partnerships, designing their go to market strategy, and providing guidance to implement their local presence. Every year, with a team of 80 dedicated professionals across Europe, the US and China, Choose Paris Region supports 1,000+ international companies looking to grow their business in the Paris Region, one of the leading tech and business hubs in the world.

Groupe ADP

Groupe ADP develops and manages airports, including Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly and Paris-Le Bourget. In 2019, the group handled through its brand Paris Aéroport more than 108 million passengers and 2.2 million metric tons of freight and mail at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly, and more than 110 million passengers in airports abroad. Boasting an exceptional geographic location and a major catchment area, the Group is pursuing its strategy of adapting and modernizing its terminal facilities and upgrading quality of services; the group also intends to develop its retail and real estate businesses. In 2019, group revenue stood at €4,700 million and net income at €588 million. Registered office: 1 rue de France – 93290 Tremblay en France, France. A public limited company (Société Anonyme) with share capital of €296,881,806. Registered in the Bobigny Trade and Company Register under no. 552 016 628. www.groupeadp.fr

RATP Group

With sixteen million journeys every day across the planet, RATP Group is one of the leading urban transport operators in the world. The Group operates in twelve countries on four continents through its RATP Dev subsidiary and each day runs eight modes of transport: metros, urban and inter-city bus services, tramways, rail, sightseeing, cable cars, maritime shuttle services and transport on demand. The Group is also present across the entire spectrum of new mobility services in partnership with four other modes (electric scooters, car-sharing, car-pooling and driverless shuttle services). As a widely hailed expert in infrastructure management and engineering, the Group also fields a broad range of urban services through its subsidiaries in real estate management and engineering, operating retail facilities, fibre-optic technologies, customized passenger information and innovative ticketing solutions. RATP has been running one of the densest multimodal networks in the world for over seventy years in Paris and around the French capital. Thanks to its 64,000 staff members RATP Group designs, implements and runs mobility solutions and innovative services each day for sustainable and more human towns and cities.

Volocopter GmbH

Volocopter is building the world’s first sustainable and scalable urban air mobility business to bring affordable air taxi services to megacities worldwide. With the VoloCity, the company is developing the first fully electric “eVTOL” aircraft in certification to safely and quietly transport passengers within cities. Volocopter leads and cooperates with partners in infrastructure, operations, and air traffic management to build the ecosystem necessary to ‘Bring Urban Air Mobility to Life’. In 2011, Volocopter performed the first-ever manned flight of a purely electric multicopter and has since showcased numerous public flights with its full-scale aircraft. The most notable have been the public test flights at Singapore’s Marina Bay in October 2019 and the world’s first autonomous eVTOL flight in Dubai 2017. Volocopter is also developing products for the logistics and precision agriculture space with their VoloDrone. Founded in 2011 by Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel, Volocopter has 150 employees in offices in Bruchsal, Munich, and Singapore. The company is managed by CEO Florian Reuter, CTO Dr. Arnaud Coville, CFO Rene Griemens, and CCO Christian Bauer, and has raised a total of 122 million euro in equity. Volocopter‘s investors include Daimler, Geely, DB Schenker, Intel Capital, Team Europe, btov, Micron, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, TransLink Capital (Japan Airlines and Sompo Japan Insurance), MS&AD Ventures, and Manta Ray Ventures.

UPDATE:

Choose Paris Region, Groupe ADP and RATP Group announce the winners of the worldwide call for expressions of interest regarding the setup of an Urban Air Mobility industry branch

In order to bring together an ecosystem around urban air mobility in the Paris region, the RATP Group, Groupe ADP and Choose Paris Region launched an international call for expressions of interest on October 1st, with the support of Paris Region. This initiative, the scope of which is unprecedented in Europe, brought together 150 applications from 25 countries.

Some 30 winners were selected, with a view to conducting experiments from June 2021 in the test area at the Pontoise-Cormeilles-en-Vexin airfield, which was inaugurated on September 30th, 2020.

To meet the challenges posed by this new form of mobility in terms of use cases, public acceptance, technologies and industrialization, the call for expressions of interest was structured around the following five categories:
 Vehicle development: for manufacturers and equipment suppliers (batteries, avionics, etc.);
 Urban infrastructure: for energy companies or vertiport designers;
 Operations: for suppliers of intermodal solutions, maintenance, or digital platforms;
 Airspace integration: for suppliers of unmanned traffic management (UTM) or communication/ navigation systems;
 Acceptability: for laboratories or research institutes dealing with social and environmental issues.
One of the key selection criteria defined beforehand was the maturity of the solution.

Working groups and start of experiments at summer 2021

Thus, from June 2021, in close cooperation with the French civil aviation authority (DGA) and with the support of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Eurocontrol, tests will be carried out in a real aeronautical environment at Pontoise, with respect to parking, takeoff and landing operations, as well as operations around the vehicle, whether for maintenance or electrical recharging.
The selected candidates join Volocopter, manufacturer of the electric vertical take-off vehicle (eVTOL), which will be the first industrial player to test its VoloCity vehicle from June 2021.
The players will now be able to share their expertise, identify synergies and deploy experimentations in the coming months at the Pontoise-Cormeilles-en-Vexin airfield.
The success of this call for expressions of interest has brought together leading industrial players in the field of air mobility, such as Airbus, as well as international start-ups and major academic and research institutions, including the University of Berkeley and the French Civil Aviation School.
In addition, the prospect of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games is an exceptional opportunity to mobilize a sector to prepare a demonstrator for this horizon, and to make the Paris Region a reference in the global market for urban air mobility.

On this occasion, Edward Arkwright, Deputy CEO of Groupe ADP said: “the success of this call for international interest shows that there is strong support for the structuring of an air mobility industry in the Paris Region. Alongside all these industrial, academic and research players, and thanks to the setup of a test area at our Pontoise airfield, the first of its kind in Europe, we will now be able to boost its development. The test area integration within the airfield has been the result of collaborative work with French civil aviation authority teams. Today, Groupe ADP wants to explore and make possible all the futures of aviation, both carbon-free and innovative”.

Catherine Guillouard, Chairwoman and CEO of RATP Group stated that “after the inauguration of a test area on September 30th, the urban air mobility sector has just entered into a new phase with this call for expressions of interest, which has proved to be a real success. As a partner to cities, RATP Group is pleased to contribute to the development of this new form of mobility, which complements our historical modes of transport, and to this integration of technology in the urban landscape in view of the 2024 Olympic Games”.
And Franck Margain, President of Choose Paris Region to add: “the success of the call for expressions of interest conducted alongside ADP Group and RATP Group demonstrates the international attractiveness of the Paris region as well as the importance of our region for the development of tomorrow’s mobility. Through the collaboration of public and private players, and by inviting innovative companies from around the world to join us and complete our value chain, we are building a unique ecosystem to develop the urban air mobility sector, reinforce the attractiveness of the Paris region and to support responsible industries and employment.”

The winners chosen by the jury for the five categories are:

For Vehicle development:
 Airbus (France): aircraft manufacturer;
 Ascendance Flight Technologies (France): Hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft manufacturer;
 Ehang (China): passenger electric VTOL manufacturer;
 H3 Dynamics (Singapore): manufacturer and ultralight hydrogen electric systems developer;
 Pipistrel (Slovenia): electric aircraft and logistics VTOL manufacturer;
 Safran Electronics & Defense (France): manufacturer of the Patroller VTOL and optronics, avionics, electronics systems and critical software provider for civil and military applications;
 Volocopter (Germany): manufacturer of the VoloCity electric VTOL;
 Vertical Aerospace (United Kingdom): manufacturer of the VA-1X eVTOL;
 Zipline (USA): logistics drone operator and manufacturer.

For Operations:
 Air France (France): expected contribution in several areas, especially in aircraft maintenance and repair;
 CAE (Canada): aviation training and simulation solutions provider;
 Dassault Falcon Services (France): subsidiary of Dassault Aviation specialized in maintenance operations and other services for business aviation;
 ESTACA (France): engineering school specialized in mobility and aeronautical techniques, including aircraft maintenance;
 Helifirst (France): airline specialized in business aviation with helicopters;
 Helipass (France): on-demand helicopter flight reservation platform.
 For Urban Infrastructure:
 Green Motion (Switzerland): charging systems designer and provider for electric vehicles;
 IDEMIA I&S (France): specialist in digital security, biometrics and identification-authentication solutions;
 Leosphere (France): Lidar equipment provider allowing remote sensing and precise weather forecasts;
 Skyports (United Kingdom): vertiport designer & operator and logistics VTOL operator.

For Airspace integration:
 Cergy University and ESSEC (France): university and school consortium, gathering 25 000 students, including the first junior company in Europe;
 ENAC (France): engineering school specialized in civil aviation;
 Internest (France): positioning systems allowing autonomous landing in complex environments;
 M3 Systems (Belgium): high performance on-board geo-tracking applications developer;
 Thales SIX (France): on-board anti-collision systems developer.
 For Public Acceptance:
 Bruitparif (France): noise environment technical assessment center in the Ile-de-France region;
 Ecole Polytechnique (France): engineering school with an Executive Master’s specializing on technological innovation and new business models;
 Envirosuite (Australia): real-time and localized data collection technologies provider allowing industries to improve their environmental performance;
 UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation studies, NEXTOR (USA): research university center in transport and new mobility;
 ONERA (France): public research center in the aviation, space and defense industries;
 Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (Netherlands): aviation expertise, consulting and research center.

About Groupe ADP

Groupe ADP develops and manages airports, including Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly and Paris-Le Bourget. In 2019, the group handled through its brand Paris Aéroport more than 108 million passengers and 2.2 million metric tons of freight and mail at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly, and more than 110 million passengers in airports abroad. Boasting an exceptional geographic location and a major catchment area, the Group is pursuing its strategy of adapting and modernizing its terminal facilities and upgrading quality of services; the group also intends to develop its retail and real estate businesses. In 2019, group revenue stood at €4,700 million and net income at €588 million.

With sixteen million journeys every day across the planet, RATP Group is one of the leading urban transport operators in the world. The Group operates in twelve countries on four continents through its RATP Dev subsidiary and each day runs eight modes of transport: metros, urban and inter-city bus services, tramways, rail, sightseeing, cable cars, maritime shuttle services and transport on demand. The Group is also present across the entire spectrum of new mobility services in partnership with four other modes (electric scooters, car-sharing, car-pooling and driverless shuttle services). As a widely-hailed expert in infrastructure management and engineering, the Group also fields a broad range of urban services through its subsidiaries in real estate management and engineering, operating retail facilities, fibre-optic technologies, customized passenger information and innovative ticketing solutions.

RATP has been running one of the densest multimodal networks in the world for over seventy years in Paris and around the French capital. Thanks to its 64,000 staff members RATP Group designs, implements and runs mobility solutions and innovative services each day for sustainable and more human towns and cities.

About Choose Paris Region

Choose Paris Region is a catalyst for business and innovation which supports international companies willing to expand in the Paris Region. As a non-profit governmental agency, Choose Paris Region works with local public entities to provide free tailor-made services. Choose Paris Region brings its deep market and industry expertise together with an extensive network to support international companies in building tech partnerships, designing their go to market strategy, and providing guidance to implement their local presence.
Every year, with a team of 80 dedicated professionals across Europe, the US and China, Choose Paris Region supports 1,000+ international companies looking to grow their business in the Paris Region, one of the leading tech and business hubs in the world.

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