[video] Volocopter presents Infrastructure to Integrate and Scale Air Taxi Services in Cities

miércoles, 18 de abril de 2018

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Volocopter's press release

Bruchsal, 17 April 2018 - Today Volocopter, the pioneer in urban air taxi development, presented its air taxi infrastructure for cities. The vision integrates air taxis into existing transportation systems and provides additional mobility for up to 10.000 passengers per day with a single point to point connection. Co-founder Alex Zosel expects the first full Volocopter air taxi systems with dozens of Volo-Hubs and Volo-Ports to be in place within the next 10 years, capable of flying 100.000 passengers an hour to their desired destination.

Volocopters are emission-free, electrically powered aircrafts that take off and land vertically offering a high degree of safety based on full redundancy in all critical systems. They are based on drone technology and scaled up to carry two people, initially for distances of 27 km.1 The German company has shown repeatedly that Volocopters fly safely - last in Dubai and Las Vegas. “Our ambitions do not end with developing the aircraft,” says Florian Reuter, CEO at Volocopter, “we are here to develop the entire ecosystem making air taxi services a reality across the world. This includes the physical and digital infrastructure to manage unmanned systems.”

The presented concept defines the infrastructure necessary to operate and scale an air taxi service into a full network system spanning over mega cities. It consists of Volo-Hubs and Volo-Ports. The Volo-Hubs resemble cable cart stations with Volocopters landing and taking off every 30 seconds for example. Once landed the Volocopter is moved inside the Volo-Hub. Passengers alight the aircraft protected from wind and weather. Battery packs will be swapped automatically in a protected area by robots before moving on to the section, where passengers embark for take-off. Volo-Hubs are the key to substantially increase the capacity of any Volocopter system. Aside from protected deboarding and embarking, they offer sufficient space to park all Volocopters in operation and provide the infrastructure for charging and maintenance.

Volo-Ports expand the Volo-Hub system and offer direct access to a company, shopping mall, hotel or train station for example. They do not require any charging or parking infrastructure and subsequently will be less complex to build. Any Heliports can be used as a Volo-Port with minimal modification.

“We expect any air taxi transport system to begin with a point to point connection and over time grow into a system of dozens of Volo-Hubs in a city.” says Alex Zosel, Co-Founder of Volocopter. “Once operated at scale, flying won’t be significantly more expensive than taking a cab, but it will be significantly faster.”

The company focuses on developing their aircrafts specifically for inner city missions. Volocopter features an extremely stable flight allowing it to maneuver micro turbulences around skyscrapers thus offering a smooth ride for passengers. It has an agreeable sound signature and is so quiet that from 100 m away, it will not be heard over the background noise of a typical city. As it is electrically powered, it is emission free in flight. Both, noise and pollution, are paramount considerations to achieving public acceptance of any new transport system.


Airbus-built MetOp-C weather satellite gets ready for launch

Airbus' press release

As a threefold fleet of EUMETSAT´s polar orbiting meteo satellites, MetOp measurements will further improve weather forecast and climate resarch

Airbus is preparing the next generation of weather satellites, MetOp-SG (Second Generation)

Toulouse, 17/04/2018 – The MetOp-C meteorological satellite is getting ready for upcoming launch in order to join its siblings and further improve the quality of observations and data provided for weather forecast.

Built by Airbus, MetOp-C is the last of the first generation of EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS) series of three polar-orbiting satellites, and is planned to be launched on September 18, 2018, from European Space Center in Kourou, French Guyana, aboard a Soyuz rocket.

The MetOp programme has enhanced the accuracy of weather forecasting and allowed extending the short term forecasts by one day.

“MetOp satellites are technologically advanced and their instruments are still state-of-the-art,” said EUMETSAT Director-General Alain Ratier. “We are in the fortunate and unexpected position soon having three MetOp’s in orbit at the same time, because MetOp-A, which was launched in 2006, has exceeded its five-year design life time by far and will remain in orbit until 2022.”

“Building on the successful operation and exceptional longevity of the MetOp satellites, we are still happy to have been entrusted the preparation of MetOp-SG, the next generation of Low Earth Orbit Meteorological satellites for EUMETSAT and ESA”, said Mathilde Royer Germain, Head of Earth Observation, Navigation and Science at Airbus, during a presentation of the satellite to the press.

The MetOp satellites have been developed by Airbus Defence and Space for the European Space Agency (ESA) and EUMETSAT, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, and are part of a joint Europe-US cooperation.

Initially, the plan was for each satellite to replace its predecessor, however, the excellent performance of the first two MetOp satellites allows them to be operated simultaneously, providing the meteorological community with increased data. The forthcoming launch of MetOp-C will further improve the quality of observations and data provided for weather forecasts.

Each MetOp satellite carries a total of 12 instruments (10 for MetOp-C), making the system extremely versatile. Two of the instruments have been built by Airbus: the Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) and the Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT). The MHS, built by Airbus, measures water vapour near the Earth’s surface and is a result of the collaboration with the US.

Two additional microwave humidity sounders are already flying on US NOAA satellites, delivering matching data from a different orbit to enhance weather models.

The other Airbus-built instrument, the “Advanced Scatterometer” (ASCAT) is an active radar instrument which measures wind speed and direction over the open sea. It also provides data for ice and snow coverage as well as surface moisture. ASCAT will scan two 500 kilometres wide corridors and can, therefore, provide almost global coverage within 24 hours.

MetOp also measures ocean surface winds, observes sea ice distribution and monitors the ozone layer in the stratosphere, as well as relaying meteorological measurements collected by boats, buoys and research stations. MetOp A and B also feature a receiver to relay signals sent by persons in distress.

In addition to the expected benefits on weather forecasting, MetOp-C will continue the time series of data begun by MetOp-A, and this long-term outlook is crucial for climate monitoring.

Under development at Airbus, the MetOp-SG will provide continuity and enhancement of meteorological data with improved spectral and spatial resolution compared to the measurements currently provided by the first generation of MetOp satellites. A complete range of observations will be realised using 10 different instruments, covering ultra-violet, visible, infrared and microwave spectral bands.
From 2021 onwards, MetOp-SG will further increase the benefits of accurate weather prediction based on state-of-the-art European technologies and keep contributing to socio-economic benefits worth several billion Euros for European citizens.