The mobility start-up began operations at Augsburg Airport in Bavaria in January 2022 with a team of five. Currently, 25 people are working on the certification of the first flight taxi, "Prosperity I", with the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA. By the end of this year, the workforce is expected to grow to about 50 employees. And it was precisely for this fact they were looking for new accommodation - at least temporarily - as the growth of the business will exceed capacity in the new location in 2024. The company has now moved to the former OSRAM factory, now called "Leuchtwerk", where another innovative aerospace company, the Rocket Factory Augsburg, is already located.
This makes the Bavarian city at the western edge of Munich an attractive investment hub for startups in the aircraft space. The decision in favour of Augsburg as a location had good reasons in the view of Autoflight's creators: "There is an airport here for the test and certification flights. Augsburg is also located in a centre of excellence for aviation - with universities and colleges in Augsburg, Munich and Stuttgart, as well as many suppliers and other manufacturers. Accordingly, there are more skilled workers and talents here than elsewhere. After all, Augsburg is conveniently located," says Mark R. Henning, Managing Director of AutoFlight Europe GmbH.
The global market for eVTOLs
According to a recent study by consulting firm Roland Berger, 160,000 eVTOL taxis will be in use worldwide by 2050. The consultants assume that 10 providers of these vehicles and their services will have successfully established themselves globally. The use-cases for these eVTOLs is estimated to include airport shuttles, city taxis and for inner city use, the latter clearly only to be expected in mega cities. These mega cities such as Mexico City or Sao Paulo have more than 10 Million inhabitants, today we already count 30 cities of such status around the globe. The average turnover of these eVTOL providers is forecast to be 1-2 billion Euros, not bad for a mobility startup of any kind.
And clearly, Autoflight is speculating on becoming one of the Top-10 firms. Until then, there is a strict plan to pursue. The first flight tests for the 'Prosperity I' are planned for 2023. In 2025, the company will seek approval for its air taxi and then launch it on the market in 2026. Since the company will build its electric aircraft in Shanghai, the Augsburg site will play the role of Europe-wide customer centre.
The eVTOL vehicle - what is it all about?
‘Prosperity I' is an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. It has a range of up to 200 kilometres, a maximum cruising speed of 180 km/h and offers space for three passengers in addition to the pilot. The AutoFlight concept is based on the so-called ‘lift and cruise’ technology. The need for environmentally friendly, flexible, fast, quiet and available mobility in the air is becoming increasingly urgent. For Augsburg, this means jobs, innovation and thus participation in an electric future.
Photos courtesy of Autoflight.