Airbus, Groupe ADP and the RATP Group, along with the Paris Ile-de-France region and the French civil aviation authority (DGAC), have announced the launch of a feasibility study to demonstrate an urban system of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. This collaboration, encompassing all components of land and air mobility, marks the creation of a team of recognised experts to develop not only French technology, but also a model for urban mobility, associated services and export potential.
The goal is to integrate the entire value chain: design and production; maintenance; flight operations; low-altitude air traffic management; urban integration and planning; infrastructure, both physical and digital; and passenger interfaces.
The project is based on technological building blocks such as electric propulsion and autonomy, in order to comply with energy and sustainable development requirements. Work will include the investigation of secure public digital infrastructure standards involving public and private stakeholders to promote the development of the project.
For Airbus, the objective is to establish best practices for the integration and operation of these new systems in a manner that is safe and respectful of users and the general public. Airbus is already present in the on-demand mobility sector, with its Voom service offering, based on the use of helicopters in urban areas, and it is developing the Vahana and CityAirbus VTOL vehicle demonstrators, which are 100% electric, with zero CO2 emissions.
The RATP Group, a leader in urban mobility solutions, will focus on inter-mobility, urban insertion and acceptability issues in order to ensure that the flying autonomous vehicle is accessible to the greatest number of people while connecting with existing mobility services.
The airport complex is the archetypal intermodal centre where VTOL technology has a role to play: city/airport connections will be the first applications. Groupe ADP is prepared to act as a catalyser in the development of this service in the Paris Ile-de-France region, thanks to a network of airport platforms unique in Europe and worldwide, based on its infrastructure engineering expertise, which today includes “vertiport” platforms. The latter constitute veritable test laboratories: operations on the ground and in flight, passenger wayfinding, energy supply and maintenance.