Plans have been announced to set up Ireland's Ireland's first passenger and cargo vertiport - a platform used by electric aerial vehicles.
Skyports, Future Mobility Campus Ireland, Avtrain and Shannon Group have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish the vertiport.
The partnership will work towards launching an operational vertiport at Shannon's Future Mobility Campus Ireland campus in 2022.
The companies said this will encourage participation and investment in the country's Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM) industry, adding that the long-term goal is the establishment of Ireland's first air taxi service and routine beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations.
Skyports is a global passenger air taxi and cargo drone vertiport provider, while Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI) is Ireland's first testbed for future mobility located next to Shannon Airport.
Avtrain is Europe's leading drone training and certification body and Shannon Group’s International Aviation Services Centre supports and promotes one of the country's largest aviation clusters located at Shannon.
Duncan Walker, CEO at Skyports, said that the new partnership provides a launch pad for Ireland’s advanced air mobility market.
"To be contributing at this early stage demonstrates the criticality of vertiport infrastructure to the success of the industry. Participating alongside a group of such high calibre organisations puts us in a strong position to kick-start the project, providing the perfect mix of expertise to make our AAM plans a reality," he added.
John Drysdale, Business Development Manager at Shannon Group, said that collaborating with stakeholders who are experts in their field will provide a robust platform to develop new technologies and innovations in this exciting sector.
"The Shannon Campus will provide an ideal incubation space within which the future of mobility can be developed in a collegial manner bringing great opportunities to the region," Mr Drysdale added.
Russell Vickers, CEO at Future Mobility Campus Ireland, said that Ireland and the Shannon region in particular has a huge potential to shape future research and development of Advanced Aerial Mobility.
"Development of a vertiport in conjunction with a UAV testing area provides a natural extension to the capabilities of the Future Mobility Campus. The ecosystem continues to grow thanks to the vision and belief of our partners," he added.
Julie Garland, CEO at Avtrain, said that the vast experience in training and certification standards, vertiport development, BVLOS drone ops, airport operations and autonomous mobility are a force to be reckoned with in the Advanced Air Mobility market.
"The location next to Shannon Airport is the epicentre of the aviation industry in Ireland and critical to the future integration of manned and unmanned aircraft," she added.