Moving around the city with small electric aircraft could soon become a reality. The German company Volocopter, which specializes in the production of autonomous aerial vehicles, today entered into cooperation with a second-level subsidiary of the Geely Holding Group, a joint venture in Chengdu, capital of the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan.
Volocopter and Geely will handle manufacturing and market operations of Volocopter products in the Chinese market and plans to help promote urban air mobility (UAM) in China over the next three to five years. The latter term refers to a mode of urban transportation that in the near future will use distinct electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to transport people or cargo within urban and lower-level suburban airspace.
The new company, called Volocopter (Chengdu) Technology Co., Ltd. or simply Volocopter Chengdu, has also signed orders with the German company for 150 aircraft, which include both unmanned logistics aircraft and manned aircraft. According to the new joint venture, the aircraft and their components will be produced in Hubei Geely Terrafugia, a Geely manufacturing base in China.
Volocopter Chengdu will also participate in the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China) to be held on September 28. Volocopter is currently the first and only eVTOL aircraft manufacturer in the world to have obtained design and production approval from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.