According to a recent analysis by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) in Munich, innovation activity in the field of urban air mobility has increased rapidly in the past five years. In 2020, almost three times as many patent applications effective in Germany had been published in this field of technology as in 2016. German companies had recently made a significant leap forward in terms of the number of inventions filed for air taxis and other urban air mobility applications. “A few years ago, the scenario of air taxis was not taken very seriously by many people,” DPMA President Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer commented on the analysis. “In addition to considerable sums of venture capital flowing into the technology, the rapid development of innovation activity now shows that this is an important future market.”
While, according to the DPMA, “in 2016, a good 200 published patent applications with effect for Germany in a broad sense could be attributed to Urban Air Mobility, last year there were already close to 600. In total, more than 1900 such applications were published in the past five years.” 42.2% of the inventions came from companies in the USA, 16.5% from Germany, 7.6% from France, 7.0% from China and 4.9% from Japan. From a German perspective, the extraordinarily high filing momentum in 2020 stands out positively, when a good 120 inventions by German applicants were published – more than twice as many as in the previous year (+102.4%). “At first glance, American companies play a dominant role in urban air mobility”, the DPMA President states. “Judging by the number of patent applications, Germany also seems to be promisingly positioned to tap the new market.”
The flying machines in the field of urban air mobility are mostly so-called multicopters, which have a high energy demand during vertical take-off and landing, but also during cruise flight. Consequently, a large proportion of the patent applications concern systems for energy supply and storage. There was also a clear trend in applications for the design of additional wings, which provide more aerodynamic lift during cruise flight. Other patents concerned the interaction of aircraft with landing pads, handling and service stations.
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