To develop a system of air mobility in the Paris region, the RATP Group, Groupe ADP and Choose Paris Region launched an international initiative on 1 October 2020. The purpose of the call was selection of companies, institutions and projects that can make a key contribution to the development and implementation of more efficient air transport within large cities and accelerate the emergence of a new branch of industry: Urban Air Mobility.

This initiative, the scope of which is unprecedented in Europe, brought together leading industrial players in the field of air mobility, such as Airbus, as well as international start-ups and major academic and research institutions, including the University of Berkeley and the French Civil Aviation School.
All together 150 applications from 25 countries.

To meet the challenges posed by this new form of mobility (terms of use cases, public acceptance, technologies and industrialization etc.) the call was structured around the following five categories:
– Vehicle development
– Urban infrastructure
– Operations
– Airspace integration
– Acceptability

5 categories of Urban Air Mobility

Pipistrel’s application was selected as one of the winners in the “vehicle development” category, for its expertise in electric aircraft and logistics VTOL manufacturing, together with the following other organizations:

  • Airbus (France): aircraft manufacturer;
  • Ascendance Flight Technologies (France): Hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft manufacturer;
  • Ehang (China): passenger electric VTOL manufacturer;
  • H3 Dynamics (Singapore): manufacturer and ultralight hydrogen-electric systems developer;
  • Safran Electronics & Defense (France): manufacturer of the Patroller VTOL and optronics, avionics, electronics systems and critical software provider for civil and military applications;
  • Volocopter (Germany): manufacturer of the VoloCity electric VTOL;
  • Vertical Aerospace (United Kingdom): manufacturer of the VA-1X eVTOL;
  • Zipline (USA): logistics drone operator and manufacturer.

After being selected as winners, the companies will now be able to share their expertise, identify synergies and deploy experimentation. The first step will be an online kick-off meeting gathering laureates and organizers in the beginning of February.

The winners are to conduct experiments and start flight testing already from June 2021 onward.
Tests of parking, takeoff and landing operations, as well as operations around the vehicle, maintenance and electrical recharging, will be carried out in a real aeronautical environment at the Pontoise-Cormeilles-en-Vexin airfield, about 16km northwest of Paris, in close cooperation with the French civil aviation authority (DGA) and with the support of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Eurocontrol.