Airbus, Audi partner for urban mobility services

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Airbus Helicopters

AIRBUS AND German car maker Audi announced a partnership on April 26, 2018, which will develop real, near-term air and ground air mobility solutions. The initiative was announced by the two organisations at the ILA Berlin Air Show 2018.

The partnership will utilise Voom, Airbus’ on-demand helicopter service, to deliver what Airbus terms an end-to-end transportation service, which will begin in the summer in São Paulo and Mexico City.

Audi vehicles will provide premium ground transportation and Voom will provide the helicopter service, which the European aircraft manufacturer says will allow customers to experience a seamless and ultraconvenient travel experiences between urban destinations within the two cities.

Airbus CEO Tom Enders said: “This important partnership with Audi addresses both current and future challenges for urban mobility. As a first concrete milestone in the co-operation we are developing, we will be offering multi-modal transportation solutions to the world’s most congested cities.”

He added: “The world is rapidly urbanising and ground infrastructure alone cannot meet the demands of tomorrow. Increased congestion is pushing the cities’ transportation systems to the limits, costing travellers and municipalities valuable time and money. Adding the sky as a third dimension to the urban transport networks is going to revolutionise the way we live – and Airbus is ready to shape and build that future of flight.”

Airbus has already conducted successful trials of the Voom helicopter ride-hailing service in São Paulo, which it says aims to reduce congestion by making helicopter travel more accessible and affordable. It extended this service to Mexico City in March 2018 and the partnership with Audi will add the ground transportation dimension in each city.

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said: “The Audi Group is committed to improve mobility in cities by introducing smart, innovative ideas. We therefore showed in 2018 the first modular system for urban air mobility together with Airbus and our subsidiary Italdesign.”

He added: “Today we are going the next step, entering into a service with Airbus and Voom to offer premium mobility for customers. By doing this we will learn even better how we can ensure seamless, multi-modal transportation with the best partners for our customers. Together with Airbus we will develop this co-operation further.”

Airbus and Italdesign are also partnering on a fully-electric, auto piloted and modular urban air transport concept called Pop Up, which will include a pod or capsule, which will be connected to either the ground or air means of transportation.

In addition, Airbus is working on its CityAirbus technology demonstrator which it says will fly before the end of 2018. CityAirbus is an electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle, which can carry up to four passengers.

Nigel Pittaway

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Italdesign