Pressing a button to call a helicopters to a rooftop was once the stuff of science fiction, but it could soon be a reality in China’s southern metropolis of Shenzhen.
An urban air mobility project is expected to make the Chinese innovation hub, renowned for its so-called Shenzhen speed, even faster.
The joint project between Airbus and the Shenzhen municipal commerce bureau will add a new dimension to its urban transport system.
“We understand the potential of Shenzhen – the innovative spirit, the opportunity to create an additional solution for the city and a service,” said Eduardo Dominguez Puerta, senior vice-president and head of the urban air mobility section of Airbus.
Tailored UAM services are expected to be introduced in Shenzhen by the end of this year, making it the first Chinese city to use helicopters in urban public transport.
“Airbus is collaborating closely with China on helicopters. We would like to start introducing this UAM service with existing helicopters and in parallel develop electronic vertical takeoff and landing and next-generation vehicles,” Puerta said,
Adding that a digital platform will be tailored to Shenzhen, connected to the existing transport system and adapted to Chinese customers.
The seamless end-to-end transport solution will be able to combine any type of ground transport and mobility with air transport.
“I hope we can prove together at the end of this year that this is not science fiction but an existing reality and an option for people in Shenzhen,” Puerta said.
“It is going to be much more public, as the price will be more acceptable. Its value as a new urban transport form is far beyond business.”
Shenzhen, the city that pioneered China’s reform and opening-up, is among the world’s leading innovation hot spots and home to prominent innovative enterprises. It is also a key component of China’s Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.