CAE of Montreal and Germany’s Volocopter, which develops technology and aircraft geared for urban air mobility, formed a strategic partnership, subject to definitive agreement, to develop, certify, and deploy a pilot training program for electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) operations.
Described by the companies as a first in the industry, this eVTOL pilot training program aims to develop what they describe as the pilot workforce of the future and to ensure safe introduction of eVTOL operations globally. The partnership will leverage CAE’s technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR), as well as data analytics, as well as Volocopter’s expertise for integration into the UAM ecosystem.
Volocopter’s family of electric aircraft include the VoloCity and VoloConnect eVTOLS, as well as and the VoloDrone for transporting goods. The company’s first commercial eVTOL aircraft, the VoloCity, is into its certification program with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and is positioned to launch first services in time for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
“As we scale our UAM services in cities around the world, specific pilot training and qualification for our Volocopters will be an important element,” said Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, noting the expertise of CAE will greatly benefit Volocopter’s entry-into-service timeline and scale.
Through existing agreements and partnerships with company’s like Daimler, Aéroports de Paris, Microsoft Azure, and now CAE, Volocopter plans to launch its services in a number of cities globally within the next five years.
CAE has committed to expanding its worldwide training network with a forecasted investment of up to US$40 million to meet Volocopter’s projected pilot demand in the early years of operation. CAE states it will be deploying training equipment and instructors in lockstep with Volocopter’s growth.
As part of the agreement, Volocopter will purchase a simulator from CAE to be used in its pilot training program certification. CAE will create new, student-centric courseware, specifically designed for the pilots of the future as Volocopter’s courseware provider and will also offer pilot trainees customized resources that enable faster, more efficient pilot training.
“As a high-technology company and the industry leader in pilot training, we continuously look at providing solutions that make the world a safer place,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE’s Group President, Civil Aviation Training Solutions. “We are committed to supporting Volocopter’s inspiring vision.”
As outlined in CAE’s Advanced Air Mobility white-paper, advanced air mobility will create an additional surge in the demand for pilots, with an estimated 60,000 pilots needed within the first decade of operation. Volocopter and CAE explains they will work closely together to obtain regulatory approval for their pilot training program of the future.