Leading manufacturer of urban air mobility (UAM) vehicles, Volocopter, is relying heavily on Singapore as a base for the air taxi services it plans to launch around the world in coming years, and is now promising those flights will generate an additional $1.3 billion in economic activity for the city-state by 2030.
The German company made that mighty forecast as part of the Singapore Roadmap it released this week. The document not only details the expected $3.1 billion contribution to the city’s increased economic growth by the end of the decade. It also foresaw 1,300 jobs being generated by Volocopter craft in air taxi and other UAV services, as well as smaller drones flying delivery missions. It also reflected Volocopter’s view of Singapore as perhaps the most advanced locale for adopting next-generation aerial transport, and a base from which the company can efficiently extend those operations to other countries in the region.
The Singapore Roadmap is just what the title suggests: a thorough itinerary of how Volocopter and city officials are working to launch air taxi and other UAM operations; who will use and benefit from those; and what the effects of that activity will be. The detail in the report appears to reflect how far Volocopter has come to launching those services by 2025.
“We are excited to have progressed to the next step of our UAM journey in Singapore today, by presenting a roadmap that sets out further details on the business and operation plans leading up to our commercial launch in the next two years,” said Volocopter chief commercial officer Christian Bauer. “This can only be achieved through our close collaboration we have been fostering for the last few years with the Singaporean authorities and other local partners.”
As part of its examination, the Singapore Roadmap commissioned a poll to determine likely consumer adoption of the new services. Using a modest initial 0.5% projected capture of the city-state’s current 200 million annual ride-sharing transactions, the company figures it can rely on a $185 million market from day one. A survey taken, meanwhile, showed 72% of respondents expressed a high interest in Volocopter’s nearing air taxi flights, and 35% of clients using Uber-like ground transport to get to and from the airport would be ready to take UAM alternatives.
The study noted that air taxis between Singapore and Changi Airport in neighboring Indonesia would take less than 20 minutes, saving commuters up to 160 minutes of travel time.
Its proximity to both Malaysia and Indonesia, and location amid other Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries in which Volocopter plans to launch air taxi services, is another reason why the company has adopted Singapore as its HQ of regional UAM development.
“Basing our APAC headquarters in Singapore has enabled us to expand rapidly into other countries across the region,” said Bauer. “For example, we established a joint venture with Geely in China, joined the Osaka Roundtable in Japan, and conducted South Korea’s first crewed public air taxi test flights. We believe the launch of UAM in Singapore will truly enhance the Lion City’s position as one of the most innovative cities in the world.”
Initially, Volocopter plans on operating Singapore air taxis for tourism flights over Marina Bay and Sentosa, then extend those through longer UAM services to Indonesia and Malaysia. It foresees those using four to six VoloPorts in the city – which in 2019 was where the company staged its first crewed flight of its aircraft in a live, municipal setting.