EHang is one step closer to realizing its aerial mobility vision EHang today announced its strategic partnership with property developer Heli Chuangxin Real Estate Co. Ltd. to build out an urban air mobility (UAM) demonstration project in Guangzhou. This is a major milestone as EHang prepares for the launch of commercial operations of its much-anticipated autonomous flying taxis. Under the...
EHang is one step closer to realizing its aerial mobility vision
EHang today announced its strategic partnership with property developer Heli Chuangxin Real Estate Co. Ltd. to build out an urban air mobility (UAM) demonstration project in Guangzhou. This is a major milestone as EHang prepares for the launch of commercial operations of its much-anticipated autonomous flying taxis.
Under the terms of the partnership agreement, Heli Chuangxin and EHang are committed to building up the infrastructure for the world’s first commercial in-city sightseeing UAM route in Guangzhou.
On November 30, two passenger-grade AAVs of the two-seater EHang 216 model performed simultaneous flight demos, vertically taking off from and landing at Heli Tiande Centre in Guangzhou on the Centre’s opening day. Six EHang 216 AAVs were also on display.
“Today’s demo flights mark another key step forward in Guangzhou’s journey to making urban air mobility a reality and lead global efforts in such commercial operations,” said Hu Huazhi, EHang’s founder, chairman, and CEO. “We are thrilled to be working together with our partners to enable safe, autonomous, and eco-friendly urban air travel as soon as possible.”
The November 30 demos took place four months after EHang announced that it had selected Guangzhou as its first UAM pilot city globally. EHang and Guangzhou plan to establish a low-altitude air transportation network that shuttles passengers and cargo in a safe, fast, environmentally friendly, and cost-efficient manner.
The pilot program enables EHang to test more flight routes and vertiports before moving into passenger-grade commercial operations. Last year, EHang already started commercial operations of air cargo transportation in and near its home base in Guangzhou, working with the express delivery company DHL-Sinotrans and retail company Yonghui.
In January 2019, EHang was selected by the Civil Aviation Administration of China as the country’s first and only pilot company for passenger-grade AAV programs. To date, EHang has safely conducted over two thousand test flights both inside and outside of China to ensure that its AAVs operate safely and reliably.
Why it matters: This milestone partnership for EHang and Heli Chuangxin Real Estate Co. Ltd. represents the progress made by the aerial mobility manufacturer. EHang appears to be on a strong growth trajectory as the company has made strides to build up its pilot program and autonomous route network in its first target city, Guangzhou. Further, the company has begun the process of filing for its IPO in the United States. Expect to see EHang making waves in the aerial mobility space in the coming weeks and months as they prepare to begin commercial operations.
South Korea-based global automaker further commits to investments in mobility Hyundai has announced further involvement in the aerial mobility industry, not long after the company announced that it’s committing resources to bring an air taxi to market by 2023 – the same year that Uber Elevate aims to deploy limited commercial eVTOL operations to customers. The total investment of almost $52...
South Korea-based global automaker further commits to investments in mobility
Hyundai has announced further involvement in the aerial mobility industry, not long after the company announced that it’s committing resources to bring an air taxi to market by 2023 – the same year that Uber Elevate aims to deploy limited commercial eVTOL operations to customers.
The total investment of almost $52 billion USD is earmarked toward electric vehicles, flying cars, and disruptive mobility solutions. Hyundai also recently appointed Dr. Jaiwon Shin as EVP of its newly established Urban Air Mobility business division, a tangible commitment of human resources to pair with the substantial financial commitment that spans a much large scope than just aerial mobility.
The financial commitment is two-pronged: the first being traditional automotive advancements, leveraging electric motor technology, autonomous driving aids, and last-mile solutions to better current automotive tech to your every-day commute, while the second focuses on clean sheet aerial transportation systems that’ll connect riders between airports and urban centers, and inter-city hops with target ranges of less than 100 miles.
Hyundai already has invested large sums in electric vehicle tech, and similar to Airbus’ collaboration with ItalDesign and Audi, could be weighing the advantages of a ride/fly system, such as the Pop.Up Next, which combines the advantages of a tradition car or shuttle in urban environments with an adaptable “hovertrain” that adds on electric vertical lift motors that allow the “car” portion of the aircraft to convert to an eVTOL and transfer riders over longer, more congested routes. Such a design has not been confirmed by Hyundai, but certainly wouldn’t be ruled out of the realm of possibility due to the company’s experience and presence in the automotive industry.
One area that may challenge Hyundai is establishing aerospace-quality manufacturing standards – while the automaker has no challenge meeting high production rates of its affordable line of cars, standing up the complex composite and aerospace-spec manufacturing processes that add cost and complexity will be a hurdle that Hyundai will need to clear to win a portion of the eVTOL market share.
Why it’s important: Hyundai, and many other large automakers, are much more involved in the aerial mobility and innovative transportation industries than they’re given credit – most of these large companies have R&D sectors dedicated to advancement of tech that’ll both increase the efficiency of current solutions to mobility and define the future architecture for transport in the 10-20 year rollout time frame. Similar to recent aerospace acquisitions of mobility companies (such as the recently announced Boeing and Kitty Hawk Corporation merger, Wisk), expect additional announcements from other large automakers in the coming months and years that signal increased involvement in the aerial mobility industry.
The two companies will perform a joint study on the future of aircraft electrification for UAM BAE Systems and Jaunt Air Mobility signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), agreeing to explore the development of electric energy management systems in urban aerial mobility. This MoU will also have the two companies collaborate on examining current aircraft power management needs and gain...
The two companies will perform a joint study on the future of aircraft electrification for UAM
BAE Systems and Jaunt Air Mobility signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), agreeing to explore the development of electric energy management systems in urban aerial mobility. This MoU will also have the two companies collaborate on examining current aircraft power management needs and gain a “deeper understanding of the extension of urban traffic into the airspace.”
BAE Systems, having announced their intentions to enter the electric aviation market a few months prior, have made their next step by involving Jaunt Air. “The collaboration with Jaunt Air Mobility leverages the strengths of two industry-leading companies to develop technology for a new ecosystem,” said Ehtisham Siddiqui, vice president and general manager of Controls and Avionics Solutions at BAE Systems.
“This strategic collaboration builds on our two decades of heritage as we develop and certify controls and energy management systems for the future of flight.” – Ehtisham Siddiqui
Jaunt Air Mobility, currently in the process of submitting their own eVTOL as a partner of Uber Elevate, seeks to improve their power systems management through this MoU. Both companies stand to gain a competitive advantage in their respective markets with this agreement, and their alignment in interest is what lead to this collobaration. “BAE Systems’ development and integration expertise in high integrity controls and power management systems gives our business an edge in the development of next generation air vehicles for urban environments,” said Kaydon Stanzione, chief executive officer at Jaunt Air Mobility.
“Their proven track record from concept design through manufacturing was a major selection consideration for our business as we strive to provide the highest level of safety and efficiency for our aircraft.” -Kaydon Stanzione
BAE Systems has 20-plus years of experience developing and integrating electric propulsion systems. The company has more than 10,000 electric-hybrid systems on transit buses and marine vessels around the globe, including major cities such as Paris, London, New York, and San Francisco. The company also has more than 40 years of experience in controls and avionics for military and commercial aircraft.
Jaunt Air Mobility LLC is an aerospace company focused on developing advanced air vehicles that incorporate innovative technologies and management strategies, providing the highest levels of operational efficiencies, safety, and community acceptance. The company is a pioneer and world leader in the aerospace industry with the design and development of its Reduced Rotor Operating Speed Aircraft (ROSA™) solution for urban air mobility.
Why it’s important: WIth the experience in electric propulsion systems provided by BAE and the in-depth knowledge of the UAM market from Jaunt Air Mobility, this MoU is intended to address a lucrative topic in the future, the shift from a hybrid/conventional eVTOL model to a fully electric eVTOL model. The first to develop a working, fully electric eVTOL capable of providing the same benefits as conventional engines will have the ability to dominate both the electric aviation and UAM markets over the next few decades.
Source // Press Release by BAE Systems
Avy’s Aera is a long-endurance VTOL drone designed for lifesaving BVLOS missions. Avy is a ‘wing drones for good’ company, pioneering in innovative aircraft technology for the transition to sustainable aviation and focusing on life-saving missions. Avy is a Dutch manufacturer winged drones, which combine the vertical take-off capability of a drone with an airplane’s efficiency in horizontal flight, thus...
Avy’s Aera is a long-endurance VTOL drone designed for lifesaving BVLOS missions.
Avy is a ‘wing drones for good’ company, pioneering in innovative aircraft technology for the transition to sustainable aviation and focusing on life-saving missions. Avy is a Dutch manufacturer winged drones, which combine the vertical take-off capability of a drone with an airplane’s efficiency in horizontal flight, thus enabling beyond visual lines of sight delivery. Avy drones are used for applications such as first response operations, medical deliveries, nature conservation purposes and search & rescue.
Avy will launch its “lifesaving wing drone” this week (December 4th – 6th) at the Amsterdam Drone Week. During the exhibition, the company will be giving live flight demonstrations in the drone arena on each day, and will be on display in the showcase area. Founder Mr Patrique Zaman will also host a talk on Urban Air Mobility.
The Aera is designed for beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) missions and features modular payload capabilities, integrated avionics, and redundant communications. The aircraft will be used, amongst other things, in the Medical Drone Service pilot project, launched earlier this week. The Medical Drone Service will investigate safe and reliable transport of blood products and medicines between blood banks and hospitals over the next three years.
We use drone technology to have a positive impact on the world by saving lives. Avy flies autonomously and can cover long distances thanks to its wings, and can transport packages of 1.5 kilos in cold chain conditions. We took to the air because we don’t want road traffic to slow us down, and we have the possibility to reach our destination in a straight line. Avy is a ‘wing drones for good’ company and produces zero emissions. You may just call it the superhero of this new technological era.
– Mr. Patrique Zaman, Founder of Avy
Avy also recently announced a partnership with Auterion, an open-source based operating system for enterprise drone. The Avy Aera drone will leverage the complete Auterion software platform, including the operating system, Auterion Enterprise PX4, the Auterion Ground Station software for flight planning, and Auterion Insights for flight, safety, and compliance management.
Why it’s important: Avy’s attention to current and future regulations will ultimately be a determining factor in the Aera’s success and ability to carry out its mission. The drone is designed to meet the latest EU regulations and with a range of over 100 km carrying cargo or sensor payloads up to 1,5 kg, and is equipped with onboard redundant communication links (RF, LTE, Satlink) and ADS-B transponder. As mentioned, Avy Aera is able to operate BVLOS and is compliant with the upcoming EASA regulations, by following the SORA framework.
Source // Avy
Kitty Hawk recently rebranded as Wisk.Aero in a move many news outlets are stating is resultant of turmoil within the company. Regardless, the firms’ planned rollout of aerial mobility solutions in New Zealand is touted on the new wisk.aero website – along with the advantages of New Zealand as a location for piloting urban mobility solutions. Wisk touts the more...
Kitty Hawk recently rebranded as Wisk.Aero in a move many news outlets are stating is resultant of turmoil within the company. Regardless, the firms’ planned rollout of aerial mobility solutions in New Zealand is touted on the new wisk.aero website – along with the advantages of New Zealand as a location for piloting urban mobility solutions.
Wisk touts the more than 1,000 flights that Cora has completed to date, and is the result of the recent partnership announced between Boeing HorizonX (the venture arm of Boeing) and Kitty Hawk Corporation. Wisk’s CEO, Gary Gysin, is among board members that also include Steve Nordlund, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing NeXT, along with Logan Jones, VP of Boeing HorizonX. The mission of Wisk, according to the website, is unchanged from that of Kitty Hawk – less the rebrand.
Additionally, the organization features New Zealand local representatives as well – Anna Kominik serves as the New Zealand country director for the company, helping to advance local policy and establish New Zealand as a global contender among future mobility projects.
However, no timelines are presented for when Cora may operate on its first commercially-serviced route in New Zealand, as the company has publicly announced that no flights with paying customers would occur “until the time is right”. The company says that New Zealand has a “safety-focused regulatory environment” and “a strong history of excellence in airspace management”.
Boeing’s partnership with KittyHawk Corporation may also play well with recent advances made by the company related to the SkyGrid systems – a partnership between Boeing and sparkcognition, the world’s leader in AI. SkyGrid is establishing UTM solutions (low altitude airspace management) that’ll allow for drones and eVTOLs to interact with one another autonomously and deconflict an increased quantity of air traffic. That same UTM technology, when integrated with Wisk’s operating plan in New Zealand, would serve as the basis for a small, commercial eVTOL operation.
Why it’s important: The formal rebranding of Kitty Hawk as Wisk comes almost six months after the June announcement of a partnership between Boeing and the eVTOL maker. Since that announcement, numerous challenges have faced both companies, but the quantity and quality of resource pools and financial support from each will most likely contribute to persistent progress toward officially developing and deploying the systems that are being tested today.
Uber and NASA are collaborating to simulate the future of eVTOL ridesharing services. According to NASA, the end goal of the collaboration with Uber is a safe and efficient air transportation system where everything from small package-delivery drones to passenger-carrying air taxis operate over populated areas – from small towns to the largest cities. Researchers at NASA’s Ames and Langley...
Uber and NASA are collaborating to simulate the future of eVTOL ridesharing services.
According to NASA, the end goal of the collaboration with Uber is a safe and efficient air transportation system where everything from small package-delivery drones to passenger-carrying air taxis operate over populated areas – from small towns to the largest cities.
Researchers at NASA’s Ames and Langley Research Centers are developing technologies for UAM airspace management to make large-scale operations possible. Researchers at Ames have already studied, designed and tested technologies that could soon be used for drone airspace management, even in complex urban landscapes.
In this partnership, Uber is sharing its plans for implementing an aerial mobility eVTOL rideshare network. NASA meanwhile, as America’s aeronautics research agency, is using the latest in airspace management computer modeling and data collection to assess the impacts of small aircraft in crowded environments, and begin designing management systems.
A series of collaborative meetings between NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s Air Traffic and NextGen organizations, and Uber, are currently ongoing at NASA Ames Research Center. The focus of these meetings is to discuss near- and mid-term UAM procedures and identify top priorities in development and regulation. In fact, the Air Traffic Management Exploration (ATM-X) project’s Increasing Diverse Operations (IDO) subproject recently led a discussion on long term research needs for new entrants into the National Airspace System (NAS).
An engineering evaluation called “X2” saw the NASA Air Traffic Management Exploration (ATM-X) Urban Air Mobility (UAM) team collaborate with Uber Elevate to run a complete simulation of eVTOL flights over Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. The NASA team demonstrated the X2 simulation’s use cases such as a live connection to Uber’s simulation facilities and virtual flights. The series of 40-minute test scenarios was reported to be a success, and further simulations are already being planned..
Why it’s important: Simulating eVTOL air traffic over Dallas is a key part of beginning Uber’s aerial ridesharing services planned to begin as early as 2023. Through sophisticated simulations, Uber and NASA will allow involved parties to understand and successfully plan the management of airspace. Uber plans to conduct demonstration flights in Dallas in 2020.
Source // NASA, Uber
When Day VMC isn’t possible, how will future aerial mobility solutions cope? Aircraft flying across the world encounter varying atmospheric conditions every day: from rain, winds, fog, freezing temperatures to natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, aerospace innovation has excelled in addressing the technical challenges of operating aircraft in some of the harshest environments on earth. But, not all that...
When Day VMC isn’t possible, how will future aerial mobility solutions cope?
Aircraft flying across the world encounter varying atmospheric conditions every day: from rain, winds, fog, freezing temperatures to natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, aerospace innovation has excelled in addressing the technical challenges of operating aircraft in some of the harshest environments on earth. But, not all that flies is immune to the challenges of our ever-changing atmosphere.
Take helicopters, for instance. While a portion of helicopters are equipped for IMC (in meteorological conditions) or IFR flight, the vast majority of helicopter operations are conducted in day or night VMC (visual meteorological conditions), while all Part 121 operated commercial aircraft fly IFR exclusively. Aside from the regulatory requirements that mandate large turbojet commercial air carriers operate using an elevated standard of navigational precision, the little to no requirements of the sort exist for helicopter operations conducted for hire, and in many cases those helicopter operations cease when weather dips below VFR or Marginal VFR minimums – a discrepancy that may be attributed to many helicopter operations occurring in chartered (Part 135) scenarios.
So what of the future of vertical, commercial aircraft operations – how will weather and operational regulations define the requirements of the future? A number of analogous cases may be drawn between eVTOL and helicopter operation vs. the commercial airline industry.
Air Traffic Management
Commercial air travel occurs almost exclusively under Part 121 regulations due to the volume and safety requirements of thousands of aircraft operating in the same airspace each day in the US alone. If the entire slate of commercial aircraft were to operate under visual flight rules, flight during many seasons that bring inclement weather simply wouldn’t be possible. Looking forward, though, the advancements in Air Traffic Management that are being piloted by companies such as AirMap (low-altitude airspace management), Skydio (proprietary see and avoid technology in consumer drones) and others such as Boeing’s SkyGrid and Airbus’ UTM offer integration packages that can vastly increase the quantity of air traffic in a given sector while maintaining high latency and location reporting precision.
These features, when implemented at scale, orchestrate pre-defined low-altitude air traffic routes, much like the Victor airways in the US and other airways globally that allow for stratification and organization of air traffic.Once navigation pathways are defined, managing operations on these pre-set routes is much easier, even when weather and environmental factors are at play, as a thunderstorm cell or icing pocket will be approached via a similar ground path for all traffic heading in one direction or the other: a controller (or in the future, airspace management dashboard) need simply re-define the airway that traffic is operating on to avoid the discrepant weather or atmospheric condition – resulting in a new pre-defined path that avoids conflict. In addition, this redefinition of an airway allows for controller workload alleviation, as the current solution requires a discrete, individual reroute from a human air traffic controller for each commercial flight in operation. This approach combines the advantages of preferred commercial aircraft routings with the flexibility of helicopter operations (where routes may change on a moments’ notice due to incoming weather).
Icing and Environmental Factors
Icing, hail, fog, and heavy rains all present some of the largest environmental challenges for helicopter (and eVTOL) aircraft as they restrict visibility and prevent many helicopters that are only rated for visual flight rules from making point-to-point flights. The presence of rain or fog isn’t the showstopper for eVTOLs that it is for helicopters: the precision of most GPS guided routes that have been demonstrated by prototype eVTOLs and drones today is on the order of meters (and in some case as good as 1m).
Unfortunately, icing is a challenge that hardly any eVTOL manufacturers have publicly addressed; whether it be for complexity or a reasoned approach of slowly adding complexity – the energy requirements of heating various lifting and propulsive surfaces are destined to increase the total energy requirements of eVTOL systems and thereby place even greater demand on battery energy density requirements, a topic already at the forefront of the aerial mobility industry today. Back to navigating in inclement weather, though:
The improvements in consumer drone technology by companies such as Skydio, which have created the world’s first drone that autonomously follows the user, are the same advancements in guidance and positioning that will allow for the incredibly high precision flight path guidance of eVTOLs of the future. Just as navigational aids such as NDB’s and use of the ADF were outdated by Instrument Landing systems (which are now being replaced en masse by RNAV, GPS, and RNP approaches) the next generation of flight path guidance may have roots firmly planted in the advance algorithms that companies like DJI and Skydio have toiled for long hours to perfect. Certification of said guidance systems will rely heavily on the ability to apply operational data from ongoing (drone) flights to demonstrate performance; but that discussion is not the focus of this analysis.
The idea of landing a large, commercial aircraft in a snowstorm or during a foggy morning in an ocean-side location was once intense enough to prevent many flights. Today, that perception has been replaced with the maturity of navigational technology – to the point where most passengers hardly notice the difference (or increased level of effort) of landing an aircraft in that snowstorm in Colorado compared to a visual approach on a sunny day in Southern California.
Similarly, the flying public of 2040 will be a majority demographic of technology-savvy passengers and riders, so the idea of hopping aboard an eVTOL in San Francisco during a winter fog stint would hardly raise an eyebrow, while the same flight today would undoubtedly be matched with significant consternation.
Why it’s important: Fixed wing aircraft and helicopters were initially only suited to flying in Day VMC conditions. Through technological advances, fixed wing (and then rotorcraft) were able to fly in IMC conditions, and at night. Navigational aids have increased in precision and enabled greater access to airports in degraded environmental and atmospheric conditions. When the advances of the past 20 years are projected to the next 20, the idea of GPS-guided eVTOL flight paths with ground track accuracy of ~1m and automated flight path rerouting using similar algorithms to those in existence today is not too far-fetched. And finally, the general sentiment of those flying on the aircraft that’ll be operated in these conditions will be that of wonder of flight and confidence in the technology that they’ve grown up with.
Airbus further invests in aerial mobility with the development of eVTOL autonomous systems. A³ by Airbus is the Silicon Valley R&D outpost of Airbus, where Project Wayfinder is currently under development. The company hopes to implement artificial intelligence as a means of advancing the capabilities and applications of autonomous systems for aerial mobility. According to Airbus, “Project Wayfinder is building...
A³ by Airbus is the Silicon Valley R&D outpost of Airbus, where Project Wayfinder is currently under development. The company hopes to implement artificial intelligence as a means of advancing the capabilities and applications of autonomous systems for aerial mobility.
According to Airbus, “Project Wayfinder is building scalable, certifiable autonomy systems to power self-piloted aircraft applications throughout Airbus, from small urban air vehicles to large commercial airplanes. Our team of experts is driving the maturation of machine learning and other core technologies for autonomous flight; we are creating a reference architecture that includes hardware, software, and a data-driven development process to allow aircraft to perceive and react to their environment.”
A few of the technologies we may expect to see from Wayfinder include detect-and-avoid, landing zone recognition, and other autonomous systems.
Through its beginnings as part of the Airbus Vahana eVTOL project, Wayfinder’s potential for applications throughout aerospace quickly became clear. The success of the project encouraged Airbus to make Project Wayfinder its own entity within A³, which now will develop intelligent technology for all types of aircraft.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) currently mandates “at least two adequately rested, fully qualified, and well-trained pilots,” which currently blocks implementation of autonomous system into commercial operations. While still prohibited for commercial use, autonomous piloting systems are often tested in small-scale autonomous air vehicles such as Airbus’ Vahana, and will eventually make their debut into commercial aviation with collaboration from regulators.
Why it’s important: The development of the Wayfinder technology sets the stage for the future of smart technologies for flight. Other technologies, such as Garmin’s Autoland avionics system, which automates communication between ATC and pilots, are currently under development and certification as well. Together, these kinds of systems will eventually form the air traffic management and flight systems for urban aircraft.
Source // Avionics International
ALI Technologies showed off their prototype, Xturismo, at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show While ALI Technologies is still in the process of developing its final product, they presented their prototype, the Xturismo Limited Edition, at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show at Tokyo Big Sight. ALI plans to have the final product ready for delivery by late 2020, and gain licensing...
ALI Technologies showed off their prototype, Xturismo, at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show
While ALI Technologies is still in the process of developing its final product, they presented their prototype, the Xturismo Limited Edition, at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show at Tokyo Big Sight. ALI plans to have the final product ready for delivery by late 2020, and gain licensing for public roads under Japan’s Road Transport Vehicle Act by 2023. Mass production is also scheduled once the vehicle gains licensing provisions.
The futuristic looking vehicle runs on two fans, aligned on the front and back of its underside. Additionally, four sub-fans are installed on each quadrant section of the vehicle for steering purposes, and small, motor-driven propellers are placed on either side of the vehicle to maintain posture control. A hybrid, the vehicle is driven by both a gasoline engine and electric battery; according to ALI, while a completely electric vehicle is the plan for mass production in 2023, the gasoline engine is installed for now to ensure sufficient and sustained driving power even with small propellers. A cowl on the front and an exhaust duct at the rear help to further maximize lift. ALI Technologies did not elaborate on the vehicle’s capabilities or specifications at this stage of its development. “As for speed, all I can say right now is that we are aiming to produce a 200-kilometer-per-hour model.”, says Katano Daisuke, president of ALI Technologies.
Conceptually, the vehicle is a “fusion of compact size and design,” according to Katano. Katano emphasizes the importance placed on design, and compares ALI to Tesla Motors, in that “we plan to start by marketing exclusive, high-end models, and after we’ve established our market, we’ll shift to mass production.” An important parallel would be the importance placed on the usage of clean energy in their vehicles; while Katano did not elaborate on the final product’s intended battery capabilities, at the moment ALI Technologies is aiming for two hours of driving time with one full charge of the batteries.
In concert with finishing the development of its aerial mobility technology, ALI is also working to build infrastructure for airborne traffic, including three-dimensional control systems and air route designs, ultimately aiming for “an air mobility society in which traffic accidents never happen,” according to Katano. The focus is especially strong on cutting down on traffic accidents by developing self-driving electric vehicles with a high degree of control.
“Self-driving vehicle mobility is easier to achieve in a three-dimensional rather than a two-dimensional context. The lack of obstacles make it easier to control the vehicle.” says Katano, “Our mission is to eliminate traffic accidents altogether.”
Like with many other eVTOLs and flying vehicles, ALI Technologies’ flying motorcycle will need to face numerous safety and legal hurdles to overcome, as well as a need for public acceptance. ALI Technologies has appointed Yasutomi Masafumi, a former vice transport minister, as its special advisor and is hoping to secure licenses for its airborne vehicles to be used on public roads by 2023. Until then, the vehicles will only be usable in areas such as: open fields, lakes, deserts, and wetlands, or even areas where unexploded ordnance is present. Uses that will benefit society, such as disaster relief, will take precedent over personal applications.
ALI Technologies, headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, was established in September 2016 by a group of University of Tokyo student entrepreneurs developing drones. Chief among the group is Komatsu Shūhei, who developed the basis of a business plan for a flying bike and is the former company president and current chairman, and Katano Daisuke,who took over as president in July 2018. Komatsu and Katano work in tandem in guiding the firm, with Komatsu overseeing technology development and Katano taking responsibility for overall management of the company.
“It’s a rare company that tackles both air infrastructure and air mobility,” says Katano, “I think there’s only one other company like ours, and it’s in Israel. Our company is working to achieve an air mobility society in which traffic accidents never happen.”
Why it’s important: It’s evident that aerial mobility can be realized in numerous forms other than the “flying car.” While similarities can be drawn with the flying motorcycle in development by JetPack Aviation, the main factor to look out for will be the difference in intended applications. ALI Technologies is ultimately aiming for “an air mobility society in which traffic accidents never happen,” while JetPack’s Speeder seems to be designed for purely recreational purposes. The paths of these two companies will be interesting to follow in light of the numerous more “traditional” aerial mobility companies.
Source // nippon.com