As mentioned earlier on in this miniseries, the VoloIQ digital twin mirrors our efforts on the ground and in the air. So, what value are we bringing to the UAM table? Read on to find out about our winning formula.
Efficiency is everything
With an ambitious launch date of 2024 on the cards, the various VoloIQ teams need to put their most efficient foot forward at all times. And that’s precisely what they’re doing.
That’s because creating a harmonized UAM (urban air mobility) ecosystem necessitates efficiency in our business model. What this translates to is reduced downtime, increased battery life, and optimized processes. To ensure all this, our teams look at various aspects, including turnaround times, maintenance, and the overall passenger journey from boarding and beyond, and take a very close look at first- and last-mile operations.
The video below gives you a glimpse of how we imagine all of these aspects working together as one harmonized whole once our urban air mobility aircraft take to the commercial (sub)urban skies:
Ensuring all the relevant safety aspects have been taken into account in our designs allows us to get the innovative and workable concept that is our entire UAM ecosystem (in both its physical and digital iterations) off the ground. Fortunately, we have a game plan that begins well before passengers fasten their seatbelts and doesn’t end until we’ve vertically landed at the target destination.
While our Safety team moves forward with efforts to step up internal employee safety reporting, our VoloIQ engineers and software developers are increasing safety across the board as we prepare to enter into service. Specifically, they’re focusing on aspects such as bird detection, drone and other airborne obstacle identification, real-time weather forecasts, and ensuring sufficient battery power. The aim is to minimize the incidence of potential collisions in our target commercial urban airspace and establish a continuous live vehicle feed so that all aircraft are fully integrated into the VoloIQ system. That’s what we call safety first in action!
In case you’re wondering, the actual likelihood of a collision is very slim. This is because our design comprises real-time digital twins of the Volocopter aircraft and our target airspace, which will initially take the form of dedicated flight corridors. We aim to optimize situational awareness and improve safety via such features as weather sensing and nowcasting. Moreover, the VoloIQ will enable detection of objects and aerial intrusion of cooperative traffic via ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance broadcast) and FLARM as well as non-cooperative traffic like unregistered drones and birds.
What’s more, the VoloIQ will also enhance connectivity services and ensure high-performance computing across the board – we certainly can’t wait!
Scaling up the urban skies
Another key consideration for the VoloIQ teams is scalability testing. Why is this important? Because our VoloIQ UAM ecosystem digital twin needs to be able to handle the massive complexity that goes hand in hand with any scaled UAM operation – primarily because this tech is entirely unprecedented in the aviation industry as it stands today.
Let’s contextualize this with a real-life example. Just imagine that by 2030 we plan to be operating more flights than most major airlines do in Paris, except we want to do it on a global scale. What’s more, 20- to 30-minute air taxi rides will need to operate more frequently, within a smaller airspace, and with limited places to land. Not only has this never been done before, but no software can currently handle such an undertaking. Hence the pronounced need for scalability testing which, over time, will enable us to offer more frequent and more reliable urban and suburban connections.
It’s clear that the “winning formula” we’re pushing for the VoloIQ comprises efficiency, safety, and scalability – three essential aspects for bringing our harmonized physical and digital UAM services to life. While this may sound like a tall order to some, for us it simply makes good business sense. The future certainly looks bright from where we’re sitting (cf. The Volocopter coding suite).