Uma Subramanian, CEO, Voom, studied aerospace engineering at university, worked for NASA and went to Harvard for her MBA. A lifelong fascination with air-travel has led her to her current role at pioneering Airbus subsidiary, Voom, whose mission is to alleviate urban congestion by using cities’ empty airspace for transport. We asked her to preview the content of her presentation at the IFA+ Summit.

At Voom we believe that urban air travel will be a major part of the future transportation equation. There are many questions to be discussed around the market’s viability. Is there demand for short- haul air travel? What is the right vehicle configuration? How will the regulatory environment respond? I will share real-world learnings from operating Voom, one of the first global urban air mobility companies.

What does the future of urban air travel look like?

Several technologies are currently being developed, including self- driving air vehicles, electric vehicles, VTOL aircraft. While we share in the excitement of the future innovations, we fundamentally believe that our on-demand helicopter service is proof that there is no need to wait for urban air travel. We are actively working with regulators to establish conditions for on-demand air travel, ensuring helipad infrastructure is in place, and generally nurturing an ecosystem that will help enable the vertical cities of the future.

Why is Voom focused singularly on Urban Air Mobility?

It’s no secret that rush-hour traf c is more than just a nuisance for commuters. Traffic costs local economies billions of dollars each year and negatively impacts the health of commuters. Traffic congestion is a significant global issue that is only expected to worsen given the projected urban population growth.

How has Voom developed since becoming part of Airbus earlier this year?

Voom was initially launched in 2016 as a project of A3, Airbus’ Silicon Valley innovation outpost. Since then, we have launched additional markets: Voom is currently available in São Paulo, Brazil and Mexico City with more locations on the horizon.

Urban Air Mobility: Learnings From the Real World

3 Sept 2018 – 11:40 am