German air medical operator ADAC Luftrettung has reserved two of Volocopter’s VoloCity aircraft to prepare for operational testing of multicopters in future medical response services.
This is the first order secured by Volocopter for its aircraft, a spokesperson confirmed to eVTOL.com, to be delivered after the aircraft achieves type certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which the company hopes will take place by 2023.
In October, ADAC Luftrettung released the results of an 18-month study with Volocopter and other partners that concluded multicopters had the potential to improve resource management and response times for emergency medical service providers. Across Germany, the average incident response time has deteriorated by almost 40 percent over the past 20 years, mainly due to resource constraints and lack of ground infrastructure in rural regions.
In the report, ADAC Luftrettung noted that to be ideal for its purposes, multicopters would have speeds of about 150 to 180 kilometers per hour (90 to 110 miles per hour) and a minimum range of about 150 km. VoloCity is expected to fly up to 100 km/hr (62 mph) with a range of 35 km (about 22 miles).
Despite the lower speed and range offered by the VoloCity — as one of the very first eVTOL aircraft expected to hit the market — the German non-profit air medical provider clearly believes Volocopter’s product warrants further study. The two organizations will work together over the next two years to conduct flight testing in preparation for ADAC Luftrettung’s operational tests once the VoloCity is type certified and its two copies are delivered.
“After the groundbreaking results of our feasibility study, we are expanding our technological lead with regards to integrating multicopters in rescue services,” said Frédéric Bruder, managing director of ADAC Luftrettung. “Volocopter is the only eVTOL on the market that is advanced enough to reliably plan a test program with for our purposes. We are excited to have secured our right to receive amongst the first VoloCity multicopters upon receival of type certificate.”
Earlier this month, Volocopter committed to launching air taxi services in Singapore as an early launch market for urban air mobility, with plans to begin early tourism-focused applications by 2023 and build out a network of routes within and around the city-state by 2026.
Though real transportation services offer the largest market for eVTOLs, Volocopter’s recent activity and initial sales to ADAC Luftrettung support the belief that early applications for these aircraft are likely to be found elsewhere. Price point aside, commuting services — whether on-demand or scheduled — require public acceptance, infrastructure access that follows from it, and reliability of service that are unlikely to be a reality for urban air mobility in the next few years.