BRUCHSAL. Germany, Dec. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Volocopter, the pioneer of urban air mobility (UAM), successfully conducted a multi-day flight test campaign (from 7 to 13 December) with a crewed 2X aircraft in the Japanese cities of Osaka and Amagasaki. This week-long testing campaign signifies the completion of the first steps of local flight testing to acclimate the crew, communications tools, and flight test procedures in preparation for the 2025 World Exposition, Osaka Kansai EXPO. The 500-day countdown to the 2025 EXPO has begun, and Volocopter remains committed to flying at this international exhibition with its commercial air taxi, the VoloCity.
The purpose of these flights was two-fold: to test aircraft operations under conditions like those expected during the EXPO and to accelerate the public awareness of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in Japan. Local guests, including the Osaka governor, Osaka City mayor, prefectorial representatives, city officials, partners, and media, witnessed today’s final flight test day event, co-hosted by Sumitomo Corporation, Volocopter’s strategic partner and investor in Japan. In addition, over 200 local primary and secondary school students joined a Q&A session with guests around the innovative eVTOL aircraft technology.
Successful flight operations at the 2025 EXPO require preparation time and assessment on the ground. These flight tests were conducted at the Osaka Heliport in proximity to the planned 2025 EXPO pavilion location in Osaka Bay. This locational advantage gives insight and data into how Volocopter could shape eVTOL operations when the exhibition starts. Working with local authorities such as the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), local air traffic controllers, and infrastructure owners now will aid in a faster transition from testing to the industry’s commercial future, as well as for the VoloCity in 2025 EXPO.
Hirofumi Yoshimura, Governor of Osaka Prefecture, said: “I am very happy that I witnessed Volocopter’s test flight up close alongside hundreds of excited students and so close to the site of the 2025 EXPO. The 2X did not disappoint, with a stable and incredibly quiet flight. I have great expectations for eVTOLs, and with the help of Hyogo and other neighboring prefectures, we will push forward to make the EXPO a success to support the future of the industry beyond 2025.”
“Seeing the children’s faces light up when the Volocopter took to the air was the absolute highlight of the day,” said Christian Bauer, Managing Director of Volocopter. “As a novel technology, public awareness of eVTOLs and the creation of the UAM ecosystem are where we need to focus for Japan. Volocopter and partners are preparing early for the 2025 Expo to have the advanced know-how to operate our eVTOLs seamlessly when the time comes.”
For this multi-day flight test campaign, Volocopter was awarded subsidies from Osaka Prefecture, Osaka City, Hyogo Prefecture, and New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), with further support from its sponsors such as Sekisui Chemical Company, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Kintetsu Group Holdings, and Schenker-Seino Company.
Volocopter’s dedication to Japan dates back to 2018 when the country became one of the first to announce its commitment to bringing UAM to life. Since late 2022, Volocopter has been awarded multiple grants in Japan to conduct classroom studies on eVTOLs for school children in Osaka as well as route and communication feasibility studies in Tokyo. In March 2023, the company showcased the VoloCity full-scale static model in a shopping mall in Osaka city center, where it generated thousands of public foot traffic within several days. As the frontrunner for a Japan-based UAM launch, Volocopter has the experience and expertise to work with local authorities to create a UAM ecosystem that establishes a safe and sustainable environment for UAM.
Volocopter is building sustainable and scalable urban air mobility businesses to bring affordable air taxi services for goods and people to megacities worldwide. Volocopter leads and cooperates with partners in infrastructure, operations, and air traffic management to build the ecosystem necessary to ‘Bring Urban Air Mobility to Life’. The company has 500 employees in offices in Bruchsal, Munich, and Singapore. It has raised around €500 million in equity from investors including the Mercedes-Benz Group, BlackRock, amongst others. www.volocopter.com