by Kevin Rozario (London, United Kingdom)
The idea of being able to travel in electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft – or flying taxis as they have been dubbed – is tantalizing. And for the U.S. business market it is inching closer to reality for medium-distance trips.
Spain’s global infrastructure group, Ferrovial and Germany’s eVTOL developer Lilium have created a framework for a network of “at least” 10 vertiports in the U.S. starting in Florida.
The two companies say they are looking at zero-carbon infrastructure and services at strategic locations in major cities across the Sunshine State. Infrastructure consulting firm, Aecom is working on the design of the vertiports and Modalis has a supporting role in the project assisting Ferrovial in identifying, securing, certifying, constructing and operationalizing the vertiports sites.
The design emphasis will be on modular elements that are flexible enough to scale up as vertiports grow and as aerial ride-sharing takes off. “It is also important that the design reflects the innovative nature of the eVTOL craft while creating a warm, welcoming environment,” says Elisabeth Bernitt, senior vice president and managing principal with Aecom’s Buildings + Places business.
As transport systems accelerate electrification to cut carbon emissions, vertiports offer a vision of the future that is an environmentally-friendly alternative to existing polluting forms of air travel. Other factors such as rising urban road traffic impeding the ability to get from A to B quickly have also helped drive more eVTOL initiatives – and more investment. The market is set for double digit growth from 2025.