Carlos Póveda is Chief Executive Officer at UMILES Group & Founder at UMILES Next
Could you please give an update on the Concept Integrity eVTOL programme – flight testing and certification, for example.
Concept Integrity has started to fly in different European initiatives that will take place during 2022 and 2023 in cities such as Cranfield, Amsterdam, Lugo, Jaén, Bordeaux and Toulouse and partner projects are AMULED, TindAir and Uspace4UAM. In addition, we have been invited to participate in future similar projects in the coming years
The certification process for the Concept Integrity has not yet started as we are currently developing our new aircraft, the Integrity 3 (one pilot and two passengers) that will start the certification process in 2023. The certification processes are carried out in phases. First, they are piloted, then they will be remotely managed from an operations centre and finally they will be autonomous.
This is a very heavily populated sector – what are your company’s and eVTOL’s unique selling points?
There are over 700 registers concepts, but only a handful of companies that have a demonstrator aircraft built and that flies. Our main differentiating factors are: patented fly-free stability system; ground and air mobility multi modal solutions; early go-to-market strategy; highly efficient cash efficient operations.
Electrification and automation are disruptive trends in air and ground transportation. Both are required to make the big sustainability impact that societies and governments worldwide are looking for. Our products are designed with characteristics for operators who are innovators and early adopters. For example, we have gone for an initial aircraft that is for one pilot and two passengers to cater for the executive and high-end tourist market which we believe will initially demand our multi-modal solutions.
We are already building prototypes and demonstrator aircraft and ground vehicles. High volume production coming from a final assembly line is on our roadmap for 2026/2027. We hope to build everything in Spain as we are not only building a Spanish air and ground OEM, but also an industry of partners and supplier to serve a massive global market and opportunity.
What are your most daunting challenges and how will you overcome them?
I would say that the biggest challenges are not technological, but more that regulators are having to catch-up with the new reality that both electrification and automation brings in both air and ground mobility. Another challenge for all players, especially in air mobility but also in ground automation is to earn the trust of the public and operators. For UMILES, the biggest challenge is to remain focused on our vision, our technology allows us to address so many possibilities, but we are focused on our mission of providing multi-modal door-to-door and last mile solutions for passengers and package deliveries.
How do you see the market for Concept Integrity evolving: from emergency services to on-demand taxi services to scheduled routes?
Executive and tourist operations; logistics services (the goal is to ensure that it is safely integrated, so it will be tested first with cargo and then with people) and tourist resorts.
How strong is the urban air mobility market is Spain? Do we know how the public will respond?
Spain has been an aviation pioneer, with us about to celebrate 100 years since Juan de la Cierva, first flew a new type of aircraft, the AutoGyro. One hundred years later it’s time for Spain to once again take a leading role in the transportation revolution taking place. The Spanish public are early adopters of new technology, we are confident that the public will see the advantages. We are already seeing this in many regions of the country, where we are in constant contact with for flight permissions.
What has been the attitude of regulators to your programme, both at national and international levels?
Contact so far has been extremely supportive, and we look forward to working closely with regulators both EASA and the FCC in the coming years.
How much progress has there been in developing infrastructure (vertiports, UTM, training, charging, etc.) to support your business plans?
The infrastructure focus is well on the way and is on track to time with our go-to-market in 2027.
Vertiports and air corridors will be essential elements for operations to start. UMILES is in contact with several infrastructure companies as well as being a leading participant in EU AAM definition programmes such as TindAir, Amu-Led and USPACE.
With regards to public acceptance, safety and the passenger experience are at the centre of everything we do and our central patented technology is precisely built around these central principals of safety and the passenger experience.