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AWB & Volocopter – the future of Urban Air Mobility

Two pioneers are cooperating: One comes from urban aviation and the other from the field of manufacturing mobile service and workshop containers (MRO containers). Find out how this came about and what modern aviation of the future looks like in this blog.

AWB & Volocopter – the future of Urban Air Mobility

What does Urban Air Mobility mean?

A large proportion of people live in cities. In order to relieve traffic there, transport systems targeting urban airspace are currently being developed. One solution, for example, are so-called air taxis. They can avoid traffic jams etc., fly autonomously and provide a faster route from A to B. The advantage of electric and thus low-noise air taxis is that these special passenger transport aircraft can take off and land in a relatively small area because they climb vertically. In addition, they can also be used to reach more remote regions that are less well connected in terms of transport.

The joint path of AWB and Volocopter

It all started in 2017 at the “Aerospace Day of the Regions” hosted by BDLI (German Aerospace Industries Association).

As part of a future aerospace workshop, the managing directors and managers of many aerospace companies were guests at AWB in Lampertheim in Southern Hesse. All participants in this group dealt with one specific question:

What will the future of modern aerospace look like?

On 7 June 2017, AWB focused on the technologies of the future and how aerospace will evolve. In two scenario workshops, in-depth questions were discussed, such as: Will the flying car be the future for everyone? Will we only move through the air electrically in 50 years? What processes and materials will be needed for this?

Abb. 1 Aviatik in der Zukunft – im moderierten Workshop wurde 2017 die zukünftige Luftfahrt modelliert
Abb. 2 Containerverbund für MRO-Container auf urbanen Dächern

Air taxis on urban roofs

As a result of this workshop, the need was seen and in the process, the idea was developed that so-called flight taxis (flight taxi or also urban air taxi) need to be regularly maintained for Urban Air Mobility. However, this can only take place decentrally in the actual urban area due to the too great distance to major airports and the usual scheduled and charter air traffic there.  

In the workshop, which was moderated by the Advanced Foresight Group and aveniture GmbH, the participants first had to use LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® to develop future scenarios themselves. Creativity and foresight were required from the industry experts for a fascinating future in Urban Air Mobility. The participants were encouraged and challenged by the two moderators and futurologists K. Christoph Keller and Dr. Bernhard Albert. The fact that thoughts create reality was later impressively demonstrated in practice with Volocopter and AWB.

Ahead of the times

Afterwards, various players from the Urban Air Mobility market were approached, including Volocopter from Bruchsal in Northern Baden. AWB was ahead of the times for mobile service and workshop containers for the maintenance of urban air taxis. However, the idea that was carried forward was to be turned into reality in 2022.

Start of cooperation – AWB manufactures mobile container compound for Volocopter

In mid-2021, the time had come: Volocopter approached AWB with concrete requirements – and these were surprisingly close to the results of the future workshop of 2017. AWB was the ideal cooperation partner for Volocopter’s high requirements, especially in terms of safety and manufacturing quality. It has the relevant certificates and decades of experience in the manufacture of high-tech parts for aviation and the finishing of mobile workshop containers.

Abb. 3 In Kooperation mit Volocopter – mobiler Werkstattcontainer für Urban Air Mobility in 2022
Abb. 4 Professioneller Abschluss – Verladung der Werkstatt- und Spezialcontainer von AWB zu Volocopter
To determine the specific needs and actual requirements of the customer, AWB used a five-step container configuration process which was developed specifically for the mobile workshop and service container business. From this result, a container composite of 3 x 20″ feet of mobile and refined sea containers was then manufactured. This container composite, specially developed for Volocopter, consists of a workshop, storage and office unit each.

Joint workshops with Volocopter

In line with the principle “professionals like to work with professionals” of AWB’s CEO, Heiko Utsch, both companies have agreed to hold regular workshops in the future and emphasise their excellent cooperation. The enthusiasm of the Volocopter team is not least due to the fact that AWB has set new standards in the high-end sector of MRO workshop and special containers. Therefore, there will certainly be more fields of application for mobile workshop containers in Urban Air Mobility in the future. A big event has already been scheduled!

2024 Olympic games go mobile

Mobile air taxis from Volocopter will be used for the 2024 Olympics in Paris (the press has already reported about that). Via Urban Air Mobility, the urban flying machines are to take passengers in Paris to their destinations quietly, safely and with zero emissions.

Terms:
MRO – Maintenance, Repair Organisation (specialist for repair and maintenance work on aircraft)
Urban Air Mobility – mobility in urban airspace (e.g. air taxis from Volocopter)
RoFlex – AWB generic term for mobile service and workshop containers

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