The VoloIQ is the digital twin technology we’re building to match our physical UAM infrastructure. But who are the people bringing it to life – and what makes it such a worthwhile mission?
We forgive you. After all, when most people think of the VoloIQ, they imagine a heaving, indefinite mass of people tinkering away on this innovative new project of ours. But in actual fact it’s not just one team that’s putting their best foot forward behind closed doors but several. That means multiple product teams are working on specific features and modules of the VoloIQ, and so we’re using many Volocopter minds to identify how these components can best serve the needs of the various target groups.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the two main arms that are hard at work bringing the VoloIQ to life: the Digital Strategy and Software Development teams. Because without one, the other simply would not function. This, dear readers, is an example of agile methodology principles at work. The two teams complement each other, stepping in as and when needed, in order to advance product features as they define an overall product roadmap to enable the full end-to-end customer journey.
Imagine, if you will, the two teams like a complex chocolate pastry, or babka: our Digital Strategy experts are the loaf, defining the product vision and its associated priorities, with each different subproduct having its own product owner. Scattered throughout this babka are the chocolate spread (or walnuts, pesto, and any and every other magic ingredient you might like to add). These crucial pieces of the puzzle are our resident software developers. And what they do is nothing short of adding magic to the loaf by writing code and ensuring constant feedback loops (the aforementioned chocolate lines running throughout).
If the bread analogy doesn’t work for you, just remember this: while the teams have been assigned names and play to their particular strengths – be that coding, defining the product vision, or providing invaluable feedback – the agile methodology at work here is far more focused on enabling the end-to-end customer journey made possible by the VoloIQ as the overarching goal than on any individual team loyalties.
Because here at Volocopter, innovation is the name of the game.
All for one & one for all
What these two teams focus on at all times are market and customer requirements. These are the foundations that spark development and define their next steps. Agile methodology practices are thus a key part of their modus operandi, alongside constant training, empowering employees to take autonomous decisions, and enabling the reallocation of internal resources based on shifting priorities being more the rule than the exception. And the neat thing is, much like the analogous babka, the team itself is scattered throughout Germany, with outposts in Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich, in addition to the core Bruchsal location.
That’s why it’s so hard to speak of a regular routine – weekly sprint plans and 3-month timeframes aside, work on the VoloIQ, the brains behind our eVTOL ecosystem, is characterized much more by a constant feedback mechanism that sees individual team members springing into action precisely where they’re needed.
So, far from there being a regular routine, an irregular routine ultimately reigns supreme. Ultimately, all product teams aim to make the VoloIQ scalable, be that by building the ecosystem, chatting to partners, conducting market analyses, defining product features, enabling the Flight Testing team to help them with data analytics, or putting together proofs of concept for new technologies. Every. Effort. Helps.
The overarching goal, therefore, is for the VoloIQ digital twin technology to harmonize our entire UAM ecosystem and offer UAM operators, ecosystem partners and, in time, our future passengers a seamless experience, from booking through arrival at their final destination.
No “I” in “teamwork”
To make this all possible, the teams need to work together as one well-oiled machine. Nevertheless, building the VoloIQ – the world’s first digital UAM ecosystem – does come with a number of challenges. The ask, then, is to do something totally new in the aviation industry, much like building a brand-new technology – like the tablet computer, for example. The challenge with this project lies in trying to figure out what people want while also contending with the fact that they may not exactly know themselves, given this is a brand-new technology and all. That necessitates constant alignment across all our product teams.
But another difficulty (if you can even call this a difficulty) is the number of possible partnerships that are appearing on the horizon. While we’d like to join forces with as many beneficial partnerships as possible, we must select partnerships that will ultimately be mutually beneficial.
Another potential roadblock is finding skilled software developers in Germany – one reason why Volocopter has developed into such a globally diverse workforce. And, in part, why we’ve partnered with the experts at LHIND.
As you saw in the previous VoloIQ article, our digital twin technology will replace 20 legacy systems; testing is already underway and efforts will be stepped up as we move ever closer to our scheduled commercial launch (Paris Olympics 2024, if you haven’t heard).
Testing is being done as part of developing a minimum viable product (MVP) so that we can ensure we’re ready to bring this product to market when the time comes. We are confident that these test milestones will enable us to deliver on day one, helping us make Paris work and ensure reliable – and scaled – operations in the French capital and beyond.
Up and at ‘em!
So, what is it that makes the team(s) jump out of bed in the morning, ready for another day of work at Volocopter? For some it’s the chance to combine their two passions: building something from scratch and breaking into an entirely different industry sector – at least that’s the way former Airbus engineer Klaus tells it. Urban air mobility has inspired him to innovate in new ways, and he couldn’t be happier to have stepped aboard this journey after gaining such incredible experience in the aviation industry – in fact, he sees it as a prime opportunity to disrupt the industry as a whole! We can’t wait to see what comes next!
Industrial engineer Sebastian, meanwhile, has longed to work for a company that flies the flag of an ambitious vision that also majorly benefits humanity. He believes in Volocopter’s vision without hesitation, and fully subscribes to one of our core values: changing the world for real. He believes that the VoloIQ – which he describes as a startup within a startup given its ever-expanding format – allows everyone at the UAM table to voice their ideas and see the very best ones come to fruition. And he believes there’s always something to learn from your colleagues, especially since Volocopter only hires the best of the best.
All in all, it would seem to more than just the casual observer that the VoloIQ is well on the way to harmonizing our UAM operations. Coupled with the team’s positive stance that the full ecosystem will be ready to go by the planned launch at the 2024 Paris Olympics, we are feeling quietly confident about the whole thing. Only time – and a lot of hard work from the multiple teams involved – will truly tell.
If you’re interested in joining the VoloIQ team – or any other team for that matter – then be sure to check out our Careers page for all the latest job openings.
If you’re as passionate about digital strategy as we are, then take a look at our openings below!