ADAC Luftrettung and Volocopter have entered into a partnership to customize next-generation electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOLs) for rescue services.
Two milestone agreements have been signed at the Paris Air Show, one to purchase two VoloCity aircraft, and another with the intention of securing 150 additional units of Volocopter’s eVTOLs as part of this collaboration.
The two VoloCity aircraft will start research operations in late 2024 to provide ADAC Luftrettung’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as supplementary aircraft in Germany. Upon successful completion of these first operations, the additional eVTOLs will be considered for use in future rescue missions.
Since 2018, non-profit ADAC Luftrettung and Volocopter, have been part of a joint eVTOL feasibility study in EMS and rescue operations, sponsored by the ADAC Foundation with the Institut für Notfallmedizin und Medizinmanagement (INM, Institute for Emergency Medicine and Medical Management) at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. The study computer-simulated aeromedical missions in two regions in Germany, and theoretically proved that the introduction of eVTOLs in life-saving situations would add a significant tactical advantage, from a technical, sustainable, and operational standpoint.
The two companies are taking the partnership to the next level, with ADAC Luftrettung to purchase the two VoloCity aircraft it reserved in 2020, and have the intention of securing 150 additional units of eVTOLs specifically for its future EMS and rescue missions.
The two VoloCity aircraft are expected to go into research operations in Germany after receiving the type certificate from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2024. A pilot and an emergency physician will be dispatched to incident locations – to supplement, not to replace – rescue helicopters in order to provide rapid assistance from the air. After the successful completion of at least a two-year research operation in the German towns of Idar-Oberstein and Dinkelsbühl, and their immediate regions, ADAC Luftrettung may deploy next-generation Volocopter eVTOLs in its rescue service operations roster.
Frédéric Bruder, ADAC Luftrettung Chief Executive Officer, said: “From the very beginning, we have been convinced that these aircraft can also shape and improve the rescue service of the future. With higher ranges and operational speeds as well as significantly more payload of the next generation of eVTOLs, we can also put the benefits for emergency care into practice – and fulfill our statutory mission to further develop the rescue service from the air with pioneering innovations.”
Dirk Hoke, Volocopter CEO, added: “There is no better way to start Volocopter eVTOL operations in Germany than by saving lives. ADAC Luftrettung is the leading European rescue service with highly trained pilots and successful missions who believe in us to create a better future together. We have proven the emergency rescue use case works in theory, now we are concentrating on the delivery and execution to start EMS operations in Germany in 2024.”
Compared to a rescue helicopter, Volocopter’s eVTOLs are said to be quieter and produce zero emissions in flight, improving sustainability and reducing the company’s CO2 footprint, while saving lives.
The ADAC Luftrettung feasibility study and the opportunities for rapid emergency care using eVTOLs are also believed to have been met with great interest by the Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris, as they have joined forces with Groupe ADP to explore the deployment of ADAC Luftrettung’s concept for multicopter operations in EMS also in the Paris region.