VPorts is planning test flights of “flying taxis” in Quebec as early as 2023

These devices, called electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL), often look like large drones and often have multiple propellers.

VPorts made the announcement during International Aerospace Week, which runs through Thursday at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal. On Tuesday, the company indicated that it would build vertiports in all regions of Quebec by 2030.

According to VPorts, these vertiports, i.e. infrastructure for taking off and landing electric aircraft, would initially be used to transport goods and medical equipment.

It’s the future

If the VPorts projects are ambitious, they don’t fall not science fiction at allsaid Suzanne M. Benoît, President and CEO of Aéro Montréal, Quebec’s aerospace cluster.

It is concrete and a matter of time, because it is the futuresays Ms. Benoît about the industry of flying taxiswhich will be controlled by people in a first phase, but could become 100% autonomous.

When we see urban congestion and advanced urban mobility, it will all connect and be electric, so use no gas, make no noise and really allow us to develop a new market segment in the next few years.

The electric model Volocity from the German company Volocopter, which produces air taxis

Photo: Nikolai Kazakov

According to the President and CEO of Aéro Montréal, Quebec’s aerospace sector is currently making a major effort to develop the vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft industry, which costs a fraction of the price of a helicopter.

% de ce que représente l’industrie aérospatiale d’aujourd’hui. C’est un secteur qui va évoluer très rapidement et quand ça va partir, quand tout le monde va être aligné, c’est-à-dire les régulateurs, les manufacturiers et ceux qui développent les infrastructures, il faut qu’on soit en avant de la parade, il faut qu’on soit prêt”,”text”:”On estime que le secteur des eVTOL va peut-être représenter l’équivalent de 50% de ce que représente l’industrie aérospatiale d’aujourd’hui. C’est un secteur qui va évoluer très rapidement et quand ça va partir, quand tout le monde va être aligné, c’est-à-dire les régulateurs, les manufacturiers et ceux qui développent les infrastructures, il faut qu’on soit en avant de la parade, il faut qu’on soit prêt”}}”>It is estimated that the eVTOL sector will potentially represent 50% of what the aerospace industry represents today. This is a sector that is going to develop very quickly and when it disappears, when everyone is aligned, that is, the regulators, the manufacturers and those who are developing the infrastructures, we have to be there before the parade, we have to be readyadds Ms. Benoît.

Among those who don’t count miss the paradethere is the helicopter manufacturer Bell based in Mirabel, which works with the American company Textron Aviation, a. developed the vehicle Bell Nexus 4EX flying taxi which can be used as an air ambulance.

compagnies qui travaillent dans les eVTOL à travers le monde et il y a 600prototypes qui sont en train de se faire concevoir”,”text”:”Il y a 350compagnies qui travaillent dans les eVTOL à travers le monde et il y a 600prototypes qui sont en train de se faire concevoir”}}”>350 companies worldwide are working on eVTOLs and 600 prototypes are being developed.believes Fethi Chebil, President and Founder of VPorts.

Regularization of “flying taxis”

E-commerce and freight transport giants like Amazon and UPS have recently invested heavily in the development of electric airplanes that take off and land.

The fundamental question will be the integration of this traffic into the airspace. We create a control center, a kind of digital control tower. We want to use technology to manage and control all these movementssays Fethi Chebil.

He wants to create air corridors dedicated exclusively to eVTOL traffic, but of course to achieve this he needs to obtain the necessary permits, which is a big challenge.

In this regard, Fethi assures Chebil that he is collaborating with Transport Canada, NAV CANADA, the Government of Quebec and elected municipal officials to set key safety regulations, air corridors, urban integration and community participation.

Ms. Benoît points out that the International Civil Aviation Organization will welcome speakers from around the world in Montreal at the end of September, who will discuss the regulatory issues related to eVTOLs.

It will be one of the main topics of discussion: “How will we handle the introduction of air taxis?”

That’s what the President and CEO of Aéro Montréal hinted at the main regulators, manufacturers and aerospace manufacturers will be present at this summit.

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