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Bringing Urban Air Mobility to Singapore


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Volocopter has been pioneering the global development of urban air mobility since 2011. (Photo Credit: Volocopter)

Urban Air Mobility can help megacities worldwide solve their traffic issues as an affordable and sustainable addition to the existing mobility mix. In this report, Hon Lung Chu from Volocopter, an electric air taxis and heavy lift drone developer and a GeoWorks GeoTech, shares his company’s vision for bringing air taxis to the region. Hon is Volocopter’s new Head of Asia-Pacific in Singapore. He joined the organisation in September 2020 and brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience. He has worked in various roles across Asia and the United States for Google, Twilio, Rakuten and AirMap. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science from Duke University. 

By Hon Lung Chu, Volocopter Head of Asia Pacific in Singapore

While some may disregard the notion of electric air taxi services in this lifetime, every morning I come into work and face the reality that this kind of mobility is no longer a dream or an aspiration – it is a thriving mission on the verge of its commercial launch.

Who is Volocopter? 
Since 2011, Volocopter has been pioneering the global development of urban air mobility (UAM) and is positioned to become the first company in the world to offer electric air taxi services. 

Our aim: Build the world’s first sustainable and scalable UAM business to bring affordable air taxi services to megacities worldwide. 

Our method: Lead collaborations with partners in infrastructure, operations, and air traffic management to orchestrate the ecosystem necessary to ‘Bring Urban Air Mobility to Life.’ 

Our results so far: Volocopter is leading the pack as the first and only electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) startup in the world with Design Organisation Approval (DOA) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to build and flight test our electric air taxi, the VoloCity, for a final type certification before launch. Some of you may have seen our flight over Marina Bay in October 2019 – that is pretty much what UAM will feel like once brought to life. 

During this process of achieving type certification, the “Pioneer of Urban Air Mobility” has publicly committed to a service launch in Singapore within the next 3 years.

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Flight test of Volocopter’s air taxi over Singapore’s Marina Bay in October 2019. 
(Photo Credit: Volocopter)

Building a UAM Ecosystem and Getting Off the Ground
In order to provide this innovative service to cities around the world, Volocopter is taking a collaborative approach combined with a safety-first DNA. 

Volocopter believes in local cooperation and keeping our progress transparent for authorities to assess UAM options, provide feedback for improvement, and to create the optimal plan for each individual city. This cooperation-focused approach has set Volocopter apart to achieve type certification before any other industrial player and has given us the opportunity to publicly test flights in Dubai, Helsinki, Stuttgart, and Singapore

For Singapore, we’ve sought out synergetic relationships with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), the Ministry of Transport (MOT), the Economic Development Board (EDB), the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), and the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) to collect the top experts as we form the UAM ecosystem here. Like any other natural ecosystem, a UAM ecosystem in Singapore will have different components linked in various processes that support and facilitate UAM services. They include: 

  • Seamless User Integration
  • Smart Infrastructure Management
  • Data Acquisition, Enrichment, and Connectivity
  • Cloud-Based, Service-Oriented Architecture
  • AI Driven Fleet Service and Management
  • Scaled Digital Flight Operations

All of these components will be created and refined by collaborating with other leading industrial partners like Lufthansa Industry Solutions, Skyports, DB Schenker, EASA, and a whole network of local experts to ensure that flying in an air taxi is a seamless, safe experience for our future flyers. Moreover, Volocopter has already initiated research and development projects with local companies and institutions, starting with Grab and Nanyang Technological University, to identify where and how Volocopter can serve people’s mobility needs in Singapore. In addition to networking the component creation process, Volocopter is constructing a digital platform, VoloIQ, to offer complete visibility of the final UAM ecosystem in real time. 

Hon Chu headshot.jpgHon Lung Chu, Volocopter Head of Asia Pacific in Singapore joined the organisation in September 2020. (Photo Credit: Volocopter)

Big Plans for Singapore 
Volocopter’s air taxi services will offer a unique service that will save people time, promote sustainable alternatives, and bring people together with the excitement of electric flight. We are working very hard and very well with Singapore’s government entities to make sure that we meet the standards and demands for the people who will benefit from our service. It’s this attention to detail, to connection, to seamlessness that distinguishes Volocopter in the UAM industry, and it’s the holistic approach to partnerships that will lead the way for UAM implementation around the world. 

Volocopter’s dedication to a joint effort launch led us to open our first overseas office in the Lion City and to build up a team of 50 pilots, engineers, operation specialists, and business managers in the next 3 years. Now, we are expecting to hire over 200 full-time employees in Singapore to manage a network of Singapore routes by 2026. 

By joining Volocopter, I became a part of a collaborative effort to create a seamless mobility service to meet the needs of the city I reside in, work in, and live in. It reminds me that Singapore has always been a place for innovative ideas to thrive, and Volocopter and I see this city as a great launching pad to enter the Asian Pacific market with this next dimension of sustainable mobility.