Airnova, a vertiport firm based in Bordeaux, France, has launched a €3 million (US$3.2 million) funding effort in order to create what might be the first vertiport network connecting all of France’s major cities. The company’s creator has already invested €500,000 (US$527,000) in the concept and is currently in talks with angel investors and investment firms about additional funding.
In 2020, Airnova created a unique vertiport design which was then approved for the French territory in April 2022 by INPI, the French institute for intellectual property rights. An extension to the rest of Europe is currently under approval- said Laurent Mathiolon, CEO and founder of Airnova
Mathiolon, who has a civil engineering degree, has managed construction, real estate, and land development projects for over 35 years through his other company Aqprim.
Airnova’s vertiports are built for multi-modal operations such as freight and last-mile delivery, passenger transport, and civil security activities including firefighting and air ambulance.
Each of Airnova’s urban vertiports will feature two landing pads and two parking stations for logistics operations and rapid battery charging, occupying a 1,000-square-meter footprint (10,700 square feet).
The vertiports will be built to give eVTOL aircraft access to a range of power sources, such as electric charging stations or, when the technology becomes available, hydrogen charging stations. Backup batteries can be deployed near parking lots as well.
The landing surfaces, according to Mathiolon, are meant to accommodate aircraft weighing up to eight tons, and a modest elevation is intended to improve eVTOL landing performance by decreasing venturi and ground effects. According to him, this structure will also allow for simpler access to the underside of the eVTOLs for logistics and battery repair operations. Airnova worked with eVTOL firms including Volocopter and Airbus, as well as various helicopter operators, to create its vertiport design.
AI and robots will be at the forefront of operations
At each Airnova peak, a tiny control tower staffed by qualified workers will be constructed, and a set of artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted cameras will support drone sky controllers in monitoring each aircraft’s landing and takeoff.
Airnova is currently working on eVTOL passenger screening systems with the French company Dassault Systèmes. The vertiport will also use automation to manage passenger boarding, such as validating tickets and granting passengers access to the boarding area. A supervisor will validate each step remotely.
To assure safety, advanced technology like as facial recognition, light detection and ranging (LiDAR), 3D screening, and artificial intelligence (AI) will be deployed. said Mathiolon.
Airnova proposes to develop vertiginous ground infrastructure dubbed VertiStations, ideally outside of cities and near logistics centers, in addition to three major types of vertiport designs.
Airnova intends to construct peaks as early as 2023, with an initial focus on France’s main cities like Bordeaux, Nantes, and Toulouse.
Mathiolon said a one-way trip from Bordeaux to Toulouse, which might take about two hours by train or three hours by car at peak times, would now be completed in less than an hour by eVTOL.
A mayor and other local authorities in the Paris area have urged Airnova to create eVTOL vertiports for the 2024 Olympic Games.
SOURCE : airnova.immo | verticalmag
COVER : airnova