Volocopter, Grab plan feasibility study in SE Asia

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(PHOTO: Volocopter)

Germany’s Volocopter and Southeast Asia delivery service Grab said they will conduct a joint feasibility study on urban air mobility “to 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”. The two companies said they hope the study will help “lay the groundwork for potential future cooperation…which could include launching services related to urban air mobility”.

Florian Reuter, Volocopter’s CEO, said “this cooperation is another important step towards the commercialisation 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 South East Asian Market. This collaboration also offers the potential for a much larger cooperation which could eventually extend intermodal mobility to the skies.”

Volocopter has been developing air taxi services and hardware and recently showed off its hardware with test flights in Singapore in 2019. For the flight over Singapore’s Marina Bay, the company worked 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.

The Volocopter flying in 2019 near Singapore’s Marina Bay. (PHOTO: Volocopter)

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.”

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Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.

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