Volocopter unveils a new UAM aircraft, VoloConnect
Volocopter, a German aircraft maker, has unveiled its newest aircraft, VoloConnect, at EBACE Connect. This electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) differs from its existing offerings in that it is aimed at connecting suburbs to cities, rather than providing transport within a city.
VoloConnect’s distinctive hybrid lift and push design is expected to achieve certification within the next 5 years. According to the company, Volocopter is the only eVTOL developer with a product portfolio of multicopter and fixed-wing designs that can be used for passenger and cargo transportation.
VoloConnect is designed to increase Volocopter’s total addressable urban air mobility (UAM) market while preserving the company’s standard of sustainable, safe urban flight. It uses a hybrid lift and push design to transport up to four passengers electrically on routes of 100 km at a speed of 180 km/h, with a top speed of 250 km/h, according to Volocopter.
The aircraft has a compact layout, which is necessary for urban missions, is naturally stable and highly efficient during forward flight while maintaining a low stall speed. Volocopter’s Munich-based team of experts, led by Chief Engineer Sebastian Mores, has been working on the aircraft for over two years and filed several patents for its technology. They are already flying multiple scaled prototypes of VoloConnect and are quickly progressing towards testing full scale prototypes.
Urban air mobility
Volocopter takes a holistic approach to UAM by developing a full ecosystem that connects the necessary components to offer electric flight in cities. This includes partnerships with global leaders such as Aéroports de Paris, Microsoft Azure, Lufthansa Industry Solutions, and many more.
“VoloConnect embodies the next dimension of our mission to offer affordable, efficient, and sustainable flight mobility solutions for cities around the globe. Leveraging customer insights from our existing VoloCity and VoloDrone, VoloConnect’s capacity to support longer missions and higher payloads serves another strong growing market demand,” said Florian Reuter, Volocopter CEO.
Volocopter is the first and only eVTOL company thus far to attain Design Organisation Approval from European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the regulator with the highest safety standards for aircraft certification in the world.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”