In a preliminary study with the participation of transport and traffic scientists from TU Dresden possibilities are being investigated as to how air taxis can be integrated into existing transport systems in Saxony and used economically. The Free State is funding the project with 280,000 euros.

The Institute of Logistics and Aviation ("Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences), the Institute of Aerospace Engineering (Faculty of Mechanical Science and Engineering) and the Laboratory Knowledge Architecture (Faculty of Architecture) are involved in the study at TU Dresden. Together with phase10 Ingenieur- und Planungsgesellschaft mbH from Freiberg, they will develop an innovative, scalable operating and infrastructure concept for the economic use of air taxis in the project "SmartFly - Concept for the intelligent integration and economic use of air taxis in Saxony".

The goal is a sustainable, intermodal expansion in the model region of Central Germany. The preliminary study analyses, independently of manufacturers, the air taxi services aimed at short-haul transport in metropolises or metropolitan regions with congested ground-based transport infrastructure. In particular, the questions are to be answered as to how these offers can be transferred to an operating concept with medium-haul transport in a land with wide extension but thinly populated to connect rural regions and conurbations, and how this can contribute to a climate-friendly, efficient, multimodal overall transport system.

In various work packages, the consortium partners want to analyse concrete fields of application and the technologies to be used, in addition to determining the market and users, which will also include a consideration of the economic potential. These findings will be used to identify and evaluate the prerequisites necessary for implementation.

The project is financed on the basis of the resolution of the Saxon state parliament on the double budget 2021/2022.

Saxony's Minister of State for Regional Development Thomas Schmidt: "Successful innovation-based regional development also thrives on looking beyond the end of one's nose and on future-oriented projects that look at new technological approaches and investigate the prerequisites for their use in Saxony. I am particularly pleased that the initiators of the project come from the centre of Saxony. This unique study fits perfectly into our simul⁺ innovation hub. That is why we are happy to support it."

Saxony's Minister of Transport Martin Dulig: "New technologies enable modern and attractive solutions also in the field of sustainable mobility. Could, for example, air taxis be part of smart city concepts in Saxony in the future? It still sounds like pure dreams of the future, but development work is much further along and air taxis may one day complement the mobility services offered today as a flexible and climate-friendly mobility option. Which prerequisites are actually necessary for the use of air taxis and to what extent an implementation of a corresponding concept is feasible - all this will be worked out in the study and evaluated for a market-ready application."

(Source: Press release media service Saxony)

Background: Saxony's simul⁺ future initiative

The study on "SmartFly - Concept for the intelligent integration and economic use of air taxis in Saxony" takes place within the framework of the simul⁺InnovationHub (SIH) of the simul⁺ Future Initiative of the Saxon State Ministry for Regional Development. In the SIH, current research results and new ideas are transferred into practical applications. The SIH projects are subordinate to two main goals of innovation-based regional development: strengthening regional value creation and improving living conditions. The goal of opening up new opportunities and perspectives in Saxony's regions unites both groups.

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Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and air taxis

As cities become increasingly connected, Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is becoming a key element in enabling people to get to their destination in the fastest, safest and most cost-effective way. Driven by the challenges of urbanisation and congestion, as well as increasing digitalisation, the pace of change in urban mobility is accelerating and shifting towards more flexible, reliable, affordable, sustainable and user-centric mobility.

As a complementary mobility service, air taxis could thus be used in the future as another flexible form of service to supplement existing services such as car sharing, ride sharing, carpooling or other mobility services. This shift in mobility services towards solutions with alternative and climate-friendly forms of propulsion and service concepts is also the goal of the Saxon state government.

project contact at Transport and Traffic Scienes at TU Dresden

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hartmut Fricke
Head of the Chair of Air Transport Technology and Logistics
"Friedrich List" Faculty of Transport and Traffic SAciences, TU Dresden