Next-generation aircraft developer Joby is pairing up with air taxi infrastructure company Skyports in a trial vertiport they’re calling the Living Lab, which will be used for testing the configuration and operation of future hubs.
Joby and Skyports announced their partnership Thursday, explaining the Living Lab initiative as a tool for testing the array of technologies and procedures used at vertiports, and to gauge and enhance both the efficiency of future infrastructure and passenger experience in using them. The concept should allow the pair to receive ongoing feedback from visitors to the unit, and incorporate insights from that to improve their final designs for air taxi terminals.
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Eric Allison, Joby’s head of product, said the objective of its Living Lab project with Skyports is to make sure the vertiport experience is in sync with the ways air taxis will entirely change the concept of urban mobility.
“Our all-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft is set to revolutionize the way we travel in and around cities,” Allison said. “Joby riders will skip the traffic, flying directly to their destination at up to 200 mph. But to realize the vision of everyday flight, we need to deliver a seamless and more rapid experience on the ground. The Living Lab will allow us to rethink the terminal experience, keeping our customers front and center throughout their entire journey.”
Among other objectives, the Joby-Skyports Living Lab test vertiport will seek to create the model all stakeholders in future air taxi and other urban air mobility providers will refer to as they endeavor to offer maximum service to passengers.
“Our aim is to develop vertiport infrastructure that delivers a ‘zero-wait’ check-in experience for customers,” said UK-based Skyports CEO Duncan Walker. “We expect the Living Lab to be instrumental in our efforts to engage regulators, government officials, and the public to demonstrate the benefits of electric vertical take-off and landing operations and promote acceptance of this new form of mobility.”
Joby will feature its Living Lab vertiport collaboration with Skyports as part of an event its calling Field Trip. That will involve a wide range of the Santa Cruz-based air taxi developer’s partners visiting its pilot production facilities, and getting an inside view of the prototype craft it is readying for certification.
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Following that, the Living Lab module will hit the road in a tour of locations throughout the US, where sector partners and the public can get a sneak preview of future air taxi vertiport infrastructure, and provide their feedback for possible ways to improve it.