In preparation for the forthcoming launch of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, also known as “flying taxis,” Altaport, Inc. has built the world’s first vertiport automation system (VAS) to facilitate the future of travel by automating ground infrastructure operations. The Altaport platform controls a range of activities on behalf of ground infrastructure managers, including resource management and scheduling, ground movement safety monitoring, passenger management, and fee collection. With Altaport, infrastructure managers can drive efficiency, revenue optimization, and safety at their landing facilities, all while reducing staff workload.
Altaport, launched within the Philo Ventures startup studio, was co-founded by former Airbus and Google employees who saw the need to prepare today’s ground infrastructure for the future of high-volume eVTOL and cargo drone traffic. “The industry is severely unprepared for the demand to come,” said Cory Cozzens, Altaport co-founder and Philo Ventures founding partner. “We’re only a couple years away from the introduction of eVTOLs, but most landing infrastructure managers are still using archaic toolsets to manage their operations.”
eVTOLs are expected to begin initial commercial flights by 2024, and forecasts by Nasa, McKinley, Morgan Stanley, and others predict that the advanced air mobility (AAM) market will grow into a $9 trillion market by 2050 — with an individual vertiport serving over 100 autonomous flights per hour, in coordination with a network of as many as 300 vertiports within a single metropolitan area. A robust, interoperable vertiport operating and communications system is vital to managing the magnitude of interactions to come between vertiports and operators, as outlined in NASA’s July 2021 report titled “Vertiport Automation Software Architecture and Requirements.”
Altaport’s platform both reflects and builds upon the system outlined in NASA’s VAS whitepaper. “We’ve spent more than a decade building and launching operations that are highly reflective of what future AAM operations will look like, giving us unique insight into the challenges and opportunities that such operations present,” said Cozzens. “The Altaport team has combined the learnings from those experiences with the technical standards established by the industry to date to build the leading vertiport automation platform. When the first eVTOLs begin commercial operations, Altaport will be prepared to serve landing locations around the world.”
Altaport’s platform is currently used at numerous major heliports throughout Brazil, playing an important role in the development of tomorrow’s AAM landing network. “We are thrilled to see existing ground infrastructure managers use our platform,” said Altaport co-founder Robert Carroll. “Adopting Altaport’s technology early will enable landing locations to effectively prepare for the transition to electric and hybrid-electric aviation.”
While helping heliports streamline their operations today, the partnerships also give the Altaport team an opportunity to gather invaluable real-time feedback within an environment that is highly analogous to the future AAM operations network. “Altaport’s VAS platform will play a critical role in establishing and growing a safe and efficient eVTOL ecosystem,” said Grant Fisk, co-founder of Volatus Infrastructure. “We believe their VAS is a key piece in the Volatus vertiport package, which is why we partnered with Altaport early on. We particularly appreciate how their work with heliports today is going to directly translate to and benefit the eVTOL world.”