German Urban Air Mobility pioneer Volocopter and Southeast Asia's largest everyday super app Grab announced that they will conduct a joint feasibility study on urban air mobility as part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore the prospect of urban air mobility solutions in the region's megacities.
The feasibility study will look into the most suitable cities and routes to deploy air taxis in Southeast Asian cities; evaluate the best use cases for air taxis, and explore the possibility of joint flight tests, among other things. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Manned Electric Aircraft 2020-2030.
The findings will lay the groundwork for potential future cooperation between both companies which could include launching services related to urban air mobility. Both companies aim to help solve mobility issues and improve the quality of life through technological innovations.
Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter: "This cooperation is another important step towards the commercialization of Urban Air Mobility in one of the most traffic congested regions of the world. Together, we will learn from unprecedented insights into the economic and societal opportunity of launching our services on the hottest routes in the Southeast Asian Market. This collaboration also offers the potential for a much larger cooperation which could eventually extend intermodal mobility to the skies." Volocopter investors include Daimler, Geely, and Intel.
Volocopter has been pioneering the development of urban air mobility since the company proved in 2011 that electrically powered vertical flight is indeed possible for humans. With flights in Dubai, Las Vegas, Helsinki, Stuttgart, and most recently Singapore, the technology is maturing towards certification quickly. For the flight over Singapore's Marina Bay, the company worked closely with the local Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). Recently, Volocopter has been certified as a Design Organisation by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and works in close collaboration with them to receive the necessary permits to start commercial operations.
Chris Yeo, Head of Grab Ventures, said: "As a superapp that operates across 339 cities in Southeast Asia, Grab has gathered traffic patterns and customer insights in the region that can help our teams come up with the most innovative mobility solutions to plug the gaps in the transport landscape. This partnership will enable Volocopter to further develop urban air mobility solutions that are relevant for Southeast Asian commuters so they can decide on their preferred journey option based on their budgets, time constraints and other needs, in a seamless way."
Grab is the leading everyday super app in Southeast Asia, providing everyday services that matter most to consumers. Today, the Grab app has been downloaded onto over 163 million mobile devices, giving users access to over 9 million drivers, merchants and agents. Grab has the region's largest land transportation fleet and has completed over 4 billion rides since its establishment in 2012. Grab offers the widest range of on-demand transport services in the region, in addition to food, package delivery, digital payments and financial services, across 339 cities in eight Southeast Asian countries.
Source and top image: Volocopter