Thought flying cars were only something you’d ever see in the old cartoon The Jetsons? Apparently not. The world’s first airport for flying cars is set to open in Coventry, UK, later this year. (1)
The World’s First Airport For Flying Cars
A pop-up airport for flying cars is set to open in November 2021 in Coventry, in the UK. Named AirOne, it will be next to the Ricoh Arena in the city’s north end and act as a zero-emissions hub for flying cars and cargo drones. (1)
The grand opening is to be part of Coventry’s celebrations marking it the UK’s “city of culture.” AirOne has received a £1.2 million investment from the British government that auto manufacturer Hyundai then matched. (1)
Now before you get excited that electric flying cars are here to stay, there’s a caveat: AirOne will only be open for one month. It is being used as a proof of concept for the future of travel, not what we are ready for now. (1)
“Cars need roads. Trains need rails. Planes need airports. eVTOLs will need Urban Air Ports,” said Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban Air Port. “Flying cars used to be a futuristic flight of fancy. Air-One will bring clean urban air transport to the masses and unleash a new airborne world of zero-emission mobility.” (2)
Viable But Challenging
According to a NASA technical report, flying shuttles and cargo carriers are possible and have a large market. That being said, there are several challenges, including (2):
- Legal constraints
- Public perception
- Infrastructure constraints
There are no flying cars or passenger-carrying drones currently in operation in the UK. Using drones to deliver parcels has been discussed frequently, but operational concerns have prevented them from coming to fruition. (2)
AirOne, The Airport For Flying Cars, Is For Demonstration Purposes
The purpose of AirOne is to demonstrate how air taxis and cargo drones can work with our current infrastructure. The airport provides an area for charging, take-off, and landing. They are developing it to be flexible so that when they build more ports, they can easily adapt to that specific area’s regulations. (2)
“That means we can scale our infrastructure [based on how the market develops]. It has to be flexible, we can’t spend 15 years building Terminal 5,” said Sandhu. (1)
AirOne will only trial cargo drones, as no one can do actual passenger flights yet. Hyundai will demonstrate one of its electric flying cars on-site, however, and AirOne will be demonstrating the passenger check-in and boarding processes. (1)
eVTOL Of The Future
Electric Vertical Take-off and Landing Vehicles (eVTOL), the “flying cars” that are being developed, are superior to helicopters for many reasons. They are (2):
- More environmentally friendly
The goal is for eVTOLs to be used for short trips across cities or to a neighboring town in place of driving. Not only would this be better for the environment, but it would also alleviate some of the traffic congestion that many cities around the world face. (2)
“The physical footprint of an Urban Air Port is 60% smaller than a traditional heliport (the most comparable existing infrastructure). Using innovative construction, the sites can be installed in a matter of days, emit net-zero carbon emissions and can be operated completely off-grid.” Hyundai said in a statement. (2)
So while a fully-functioning airport for flying cars – and people actually using them – is still a thing of the future, it is exciting to see that it could be sooner than we think.
- “World’s first ‘flying taxi’ and drone airport to open in Coventry later this year.” News Sky. Alexander Martin. January 2021.
- “The UK is building the world’s first airport… for flying cars.” We Forum. Sean Fleming. February 2021.