The Chinese city of Shenzhen is to pioneer on-demand helicopters, thanks to a joint venture between Europe’s Airbus and the Shenzhen Municipal Commerce Bureau.
The Urban Air Mobility (UAM) project, to be launched by the end of the year, will let people use an app to call a helicopter to the roof of their building,
Eduardo Dominguez Puerta, head of Airbus’ Urban Air Mobility arm, told the Xinhua news agency: "Airbus is collaborating closely with China on helicopters. We would like to start introducing this UAM service with existing helicopters and in parallel develop the new electronic vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) and next-generation vehicles."
He added that the service would be affordable for the general public, as its value was "far beyond business."
Passengers would also be able to combine the chopper ride with ground transport, creating a "seamless end-to-end transport solution".
Yang Hong, with the Shenzhen municipal government, said the service would help make the city’s transport system "stable, equitable, transparent and predictable".
The city already has an all-electric urban bus fleet and more than 20,000 "new energy" vehicles, mostly electric taxis.
Airbus opened an assembly line for its 135 model helicopter on 17 April in the city of Qingdao (pictured). China has agreed to buy 100 of the twin-engined model.
Image: Airbus’ helicopter final assembly line in Qingdao (Airbus)