EmbraerX and Pipistrel have both released images and specifications of their new eVTOL designs, both of which have competitive performance standards preparing to meet the needs for urban aviation. Embraer has over 50 years of experience in making private jets, and is now turning to eVTOLs as the fulfillment of its dream of regional flight. Its newly unveiled eVTOL is...
EmbraerX and Pipistrel have both released images and specifications of their new eVTOL designs, both of which have competitive performance standards preparing to meet the needs for urban aviation.
Embraer has over 50 years of experience in making private jets, and is now turning to eVTOLs as the fulfillment of its dream of regional flight. Its newly unveiled eVTOL is its second iteration. The first version (pictured on the bottom left) was smaller than the new one, which an additional wing as well as an additional rotor.
The new EmbraerX eVTOL will be ‘autonomous-ready’, and according to Antonio Campello (CEO of EmbraerX) will reach full autonomy once community acceptance and regulation are at necessary levels. EmbraerX prides its new eVTOL on being made to use by anyone, no matter their age or ability. So far, it is the only eVTOL on the market advertising easy access to people using wheel chairs:
Importantly, EmbraerX notes that the most important and difficult part of developing eVTOL operations will be the integration of aircraft design, airspace management, and maintenance. Said Campello: “Now it’s not just about the aircraft, it’s about the entire ecosystem.” To this end, Embraer already rolled out last week a new maintenance platform.
EmbraerX also released last week its ‘flight plan 2030’, which outlines the path to autonomy. Read more about the Flight Plan 2030 here.
EmbraerX eVTOL Design Overview:
The Pipistrel 801 eVTOL was designed with three goals in mind: acoustics, safety and speed. “801” stands for 8 lift rotors, 0 titling parts, and 1 thrust rotor. Notably, both the EmbraerX eVTOL and the Pipistrel 801 were designed without tilt-rotors (unlike Karem Aircraft or Bell).
The Pipistrel 801 offers seating for 5 (including the pilot), with a range of 60 nautical miles and a top speed of 175mph. It’s capable of transitioning from vertical to horizontal flight in under 1 minute, and (according to Pipistrel president Dr Tine Tomažič) is “more powerful than a jetliner take-off.”
Notably, the pilot’s seat of the aircraft can eventually be converted to a first class passenger seat once full flight autonomy is realized. Pipistrel is currently working with Honeywell for its avionics, navigation, and fly-by-wire technology, as is Volocopter, Vertical Aerospace, and others.
The 801 achieves safety standards by using redundant battery packs and redundant propellors. For example, although the 801 has four battery packs, it’s capable of flying on only two. Acoustics goals are achieved by having each of the rotors turn at different frequency, which diminishes noise output.
Pipistrel was one of the first companies to make electric recreational aircraft available in the U.S and parts of Europe, and has been developing electric aircraft for over 12 years. Learn more about Pipistrel.
Why it’s important: With Pipistrel and EmbraerX’s latest announcements, other UAM companies may soon begin to release new aspects of their designs as well. eVTOLs are the first new type of commercial aircraft since the helicopter, and many developers are racing to be first in the skies. Companies like Pipistrel and EmbraerX encourage innovation, pushing the industry even further forward.
From Pipistrel’s Press Release: Pipistrel and Honeywell combine aerospace expertise to address the technical, regulatory and business challenges of the emerging on-demand mobility market Pipistrel and Honeywell have signed a MoU (memorandum of understanding) to collaborate on developing urban aviation technology. This effort will leverage Honeywell’s avionics, navigation, flight control systems connectivity, and other beneficial products and services onto a...
From Pipistrel’s Press Release:
Pipistrel and Honeywell combine aerospace expertise to address the technical, regulatory and business challenges of the emerging on-demand mobility market
Pipistrel and Honeywell have signed a MoU (memorandum of understanding) to collaborate on developing urban aviation technology. This effort will leverage Honeywell’s avionics, navigation, flight control systems connectivity, and other beneficial products and services onto a future Pipistrel vertical takeoff and landing air vehicle to support fully autonomous operations in the future.
“This is the beginning of a long-term relationship to collectively pursue the future of urban air mobility,” said Ivo Boscarol, Founder and President of Pipistrel. “Honeywell’s expertise in integrated avionics and flight control systems, systems integration, certification and manufacturing, combined with our capabilities in designing and developing advanced light aircraft, makes us the perfect pairing to advance the urban air mobility market. Pipistrel was chosen to be one of Uber’s vehicle development partners for their urban mobility solution, and our VTOL features next generation propulsion technology for achieving embedded lift. We have the concept which unlocks cost-attractive eVTOL opportunity by addressing efficiency and noise hurdles in vehicle lift, hover, and cruise stages of flight.”
Honeywell possesses more than 100 years of experience pioneering aircraft technologies across every application from commercial airliners to military platforms. This century of expertise and a wealth of technology innovation in avionics, navigation, propulsion and more has positioned Honeywell to effectively collaborate with Pipistrel on defining a future for the emerging urban air mobility space.
“The urban air mobility market is a challenging space, but one that Honeywell is well positioned to support and grow,” said Carl Esposito, president, Electronic Solutions. “Companies looking to make breakthroughs in urban air mobility face a wide range of technical, safety, certification and business challenges that come with developing a new mode of travel in an already very dense air traffic environment. An understanding of the aerospace complexities and legacy of innovative technologies can make all the difference in addressing this emerging market. Pipistrel is a well-known leader in the light-aircraft space, and this is an excellent opportunity to support its vision of a future vertical takeoff and landing aircraft with our industry-leading avionics, flight control systems, and other potential products and services.”
Pipistrel is a world leading small aircraft designer and producer, specialized in electric-powered aircraft. With 30 years of experience Pipistrel has gained significant international reputation and delivered unique, innovative products to passionate customers on all continents. First-to-fly an electric two-seater in 2007 and first-to-fly an electric four-seat airplane which went on to win the NASA Green Flight Challenge in 2011, Pipistrel has produced more than 1,500 aircraft to-date. The Pipistrel Vertical Solutions team has designed eight different electric aircraft since 2007 and has developed aircraft propulsion systems for NASA and Siemens’s aircraft. The company holds an EASA Design, Production and Maintenance Organization Approvals and has the capability of bringing a new aircraft design concept from a basic idea into a certified design, ready for production.
Why it’s important: This MoU established another partnership in the UAM space that is indicative of a recent trend for collaboration between aerospace companies to leverage individual strengths on the road to certification. By combining expertise, Pipistrel and Honeywell can focus on their strengths, respectively, and still end up with a superior product.
Learn more about Pipistrel’s eVTOL Concept here.
The Pipistrel eVTOL Concept was unveiled at the 2nd annual Uber Elevate Summit on May 8th in Los Angeles, CA. Previously designed as a blended wing body (BWB), the new 801 eVTOL features 8 lift rotors mounted on a lifting surface inboard of the wing. The Pipistrel team also announced that an entire family of eVTOL's was being developed for scalability and mission-tailored performance.
Stage of Development
Range: 60 nautical miles
Top Speed: 175 mph
Capacity: Seating for 5, including the pilot
Propulsion: The 801 features 8 lift rotors for vertical flight and one thrust rotor for horizontal, level flight. There are no tilting components in order to minimize complexity and moving parts. The eVTOL is powered by a redundant system of four battery packs, only two of which are required at any time to fly.
Autonomy: Pipistrel is currently working with Honeywell for its avionics, navigation, and fly-by-wire technology. The pilot's seat in the existing configuration can eventually be converted to a first class passenger seat once full flight autonomy is realized.
“Pipistrel is not trying to reinvent the helicopter by giving the vehicle many rotors, but is rather embracing dedicated propulsion solutions for cruise and vertical lift with built-in scaling capability.” stated Ivo Boscarol, Pipistrel's founder and general manager.
The company is also partnered with Elan, a Slovenian company that specializes in producing sporting goods. Elan also has extensive experience working with advanced materials, including composites, that are used in a number of its products.
Our Take on Pipistrel
Pipistrel is no stranger to building electric airplanes. The Slovenian company has a similar level of experience with designing, producing, and operating electric aircraft as do others like Dufour Aerospace. Because of this experience, Pipistrel will most likely be successful in implementing an electrical propulsion system in their eVTOL. Their biggest design hurdle is the all new BWB (blended-wing-body) configuration that to date the company has not deployed on a conventionally powered aircraft.
The Latest News from TransportUP
Harbour Air’s Electric Prototype Prepares for FlightNovember 19, 2019
Airbus Invests in Amprius for its Zephyr ProjectNovember 18, 2019
Airbus Helicopters’ VTOL UAV Makes Maiden FlightNovember 17, 2019
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“CoMotion LA 2019: Where Innovation, Policy and Business come together to design the future of urban mobility” The CoMotion LA Leadership Conference brought together global leaders of the mobility revolution last week on November 14-15, 2019. Reserved for policymakers and industry players from around the world, the event featured curated discussions about how urban mobility is set to transform where...
“CoMotion LA 2019: Where Innovation, Policy and Business come together to design the future of urban mobility”
The CoMotion LA Leadership Conference brought together global leaders of the mobility revolution last week on November 14-15, 2019. Reserved for policymakers and industry players from around the world, the event featured curated discussions about how urban mobility is set to transform where and how we live, work, and play — and walk, bike and ride. A portion of the discussions on technology and policy focused specifically on aerial mobility, and highlighted its potential as well as the companies that are leading the charge.
Over the two days of the conference, participants had exclusive admission to the CoMotion LA Leadership conference, exhibits, demos and receptions – all in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. The technology on display ranged from electric scooters to autonomous urban shuttles, and showcased the most advance technologies that are soon to comprise the urban mobility infrastructure in major cities around the world.
One demonstration in LA last week featured an integrated, app-based approach to fulfill a new vision for urban air mobility (UAM). Sikorsky announced that it is working on the tech alongside Otis Elevator Company and the helicopter operator Helinet Aviation. Ultimately, the app will enable users to download a version of Otis Elevator’s eCall smartphone app, which will present them with a choice of destinations and relevant flight times.
The functionality was showcased at the conference where, after participants made their selection on the app, it guided them to an elevator and up to the rooftop of a parking garage. Users were even directed to a specific elevator by the app so as to avoid congestion, and upon reaching the top of the building, they were welcomed to a future heliport concept, designed by Helinet. The demonstration concluded with flyovers by a Sikorsky S-76D, which serves as today’s placeholder for a VTOL aircraft until quieter vehicles become commercially operable.
Why it’s important: CoMotion is a recurring international conference serving as a global laboratory and collaborative space for the future of urban mobility. It will continue to bring together many of the key influencers and doers that will contribute to the seamless integration in to major cities. Meanwhile, Sikorsky, as well as partners Otis and Helinet, are focused on adapting to existing infrastructure. As they make strides and hone in on aspects such as safety and affordability, aerial mobility will incrementally reach a point of being more widely accepted and normalized by society.
Source // CoMotion LA
Through a partnership with MagniX, Habour Air is about to become the world’s first all-electric airline. In March of 2019, the world’s largest seaplane operator, Habour Air, announced its intention to become world’s first completely electric airline. Together with MagniX, an aviation electric motor developer, Harbour plans to convert its entire fleet of 53 airplanes into electric aircraft by 2022. Late...
Through a partnership with MagniX, Habour Air is about to become the world’s first all-electric airline.
In March of 2019, the world’s largest seaplane operator, Habour Air, announced its intention to become world’s first completely electric airline. Together with MagniX, an aviation electric motor developer, Harbour plans to convert its entire fleet of 53 airplanes into electric aircraft by 2022.
Late last week, Habour Air announced that the first prototype of its 750 horsepower electric seaplane will be ready for its first test flight in December. Under assembly in a 1930s-era hangar at Vancouver International Airport’s South Terminal, Harbour’s first e-plane is a De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver prototype painted in electric green and indigo blue.
The latest prototype of the Habour Air’s e-plane comes in strong at 750hp following successful MagniX 350hp electric motor tests on a Cessna Caravan. The newest engine to be featured in the upcoming prototype is the magni500 with 540kW output, and is being installed in a 60-year-old De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver bush plane that originally had a radial engine.
Harbour Air was founded in 1982, and has since become a signature mode of transportation for residents in Vancouver, Seattle, Whistler and more, carrying 500,000 passengers a year for a total of over 30,000 annual flights. For years Harbour Air has focused on eco-friendliness, making itself one of the top completely carbon-neutral airlines in North America.
Said Greg McDougell, founder and CEO of Habour Air:
“Through our commitment to making a positive impact on people’s lives, the communities where we operate and the environment, we are once again pushing the boundaries of aviation by becoming the first aircraft to be powered by electric propulsion.”
CEO of MagniX Roei Ganzarski hopes that his company will be able to cause disruptions throughout the regional airline industry by allowing for cleaner, more reliable, and more cost-effective means of flight. So far, the company has developed two types of output motors, as well as begun to make connections with other electric regional aircraft companies such as Eviation. Said Ganzarski:
“This is about building a generational business that will have a positive impact on society. We want to be able to tell our grandkids that they’re all flying on clean, low-cost aircraft because of what we did in 2018 and 2019.”
Why it’s important: Although converting to a completely electric fleet as early as 2022 may seem like a lofty goal, the test flight of Habour Air’s first electric plane is coming up right on schedule. With continued success, MagniX will make a name for itself in the aviation electric motor industry, eventually possibly expanding into UAM aircraft as well.
Sources // Bloomberg, AvWeb
Advanced energy storage capability will be a key technological enabler for aerial mobility and major OEMs are beginning to notice. Airbus has selected Ampirus Inc. of Fremont, CA to power its Zephyr project. Zephyr is a light, unmanned platform which made its first flight in 2014 and operates at high altitudes and low speeds for several weeks at a time....
Advanced energy storage capability will be a key technological enabler for aerial mobility and major OEMs are beginning to notice.
Airbus has selected Ampirus Inc. of Fremont, CA to power its Zephyr project. Zephyr is a light, unmanned platform which made its first flight in 2014 and operates at high altitudes and low speeds for several weeks at a time.
As aviation begins to adopt electrically powered flight, the need for more efficient and energy dense batteries has emerged. Current battery technology does not offer nearly the amount of energy as a similarly sized fuel tank, a barrier which will need to be broken for electrically propelled aircraft to be commercially viable.
Amprius claims that its lithium ion cells have the highest power density commercially available.
“What Airbus was seeking was the highest specific energy available in a battery,” says Jon Bornstein, Amprius’ chief operating officer.
“These are very light aircraft, and the kind of endurance they require is, once the sun sets, that you can power everything without gliding below a certain floor. The other thing is cycle life: the number of charge/discharge cycles. We were able to demonstrate those two things to them, and also the fact that our batteries were inherently safer than their legacy supplier.”
“Any battery fundamentally consists of a cathode and an anode, and we’re replacing a graphite anode with silicon, because silicon has 10 times more energy capacity compared to graphite,” Bornstein says. “But there’s also a problem with silicon, in that when it’s charged – when you stuff lithium ions into it – it expands. After a few charge/discharge cycles it cracks, and no longer functions. We’ve solved that with nanowires.”
“It’s essentially a lithium ion cell like any other,” Bornstein says, “just with an anode replacement. It uses materials that are available in the industry, and assembly technology that only needs slight modification. The biggest difference is the anode, and the manufacturing of the anode, which is totally different from anode manufacturing in a typical battery factory.”
Airbus has not disclosed the investment size but it will enable Amprius to ramp up production for its Zephyr project and includes funding for cell technology research in emerging aerial mobility programs. Bornstein points out however, aerial mobility platforms will require unique energy storage requirements, unlike unmanned aerial vehicles.
“Zephyr is essentially a glider, so you don’t really need power; you don’t need to pull a lot of current,” Bornstein says. “Whereas, in an urban air mobility vehicle you have a takeoff and a landing phase – so you need power to get off the ground, then you go into a cruise where you’re just sustaining the altitude, and then you land, which, again, takes power. The cells we’re developing for EVTOL are ones in which power is a critical factor. And we shine there as well.”
“There’s typically a significant trade-off between energy and power,” he continues. “If you want to pull a lot of current and sustain high power over an extended period, that usually means you have much lower energy. To get high energy you need to have, let’s say, thick electrodes – but that also creates a problem of impedance. We’ve taken advantage of our silicon anodes to have both high energy and high power; and that’s why the folks at Airbus really liked what we have, because we don’t have to trade that off. I mean, it’s not as good as just pure energy – but it’s much, much better than anything else that’s out there.”
Why it matters: Airbus’ investment in Amprius signals firm commitment to developing the necessary technologies needed to sustain aerial mobility. With this research, energy density will no doubt increase to the point at which aerial mobility vehicles can accomplish the missions they were designed to operate. While this investment is primarily aimed at the Zephyr project, it will no doubt trickle into the aerial mobility platform. Expect to see Amprius around for the foreseeable future as they lead the revolution in making electric propulsion a reality.
Source // AviationWeek
The VSR700 took its maiden flight on November 8 in southern France The VTOL UAV made by Airbus made its maiden flight, performing several take-offs and landings with the longest flight lasting at around 10 minutes. See Airbus’ announcement below: While not a direct development for the urban aerial mobility industry, Airbus Helicopters drone, the VSR700, an unmanned derivative of...
The VSR700 took its maiden flight on November 8 in southern France
The VTOL UAV made by Airbus made its maiden flight, performing several take-offs and landings with the longest flight lasting at around 10 minutes. See Airbus’ announcement below:
Our prototype of #VSR700 unmanned aerial system has performed its first flight at a #drone test centre in the south of France! The VSR700 performed several take-offs and landings on Friday 8th of November with the longest flight lasting around 10 minutes.https://t.co/ALBWSvRmwp
— Airbus Helicopters (@AirbusHeli) November 12, 2019
While not a direct development for the urban aerial mobility industry, Airbus Helicopters drone, the VSR700, an unmanned derivative of the Gimbal Helicopters Cabri G2 platform, showed off its capabilities as it was tethered with 30-metre cables to fully secure the flight test zone. The next steps of the test campaign will allow to move to autonomous free flight, then gradually open the drone flight envelope, according to Airbus Helicopters. At sea testing is expected to take place in 2021 and will involve a French Navy vessel and a VSR700 operational demonstrator.
The VSR700 is capable of a maximum take-off weight between 500 and 1000 kg. Additionally, while Airbus has not released official specifications, the drone is expected to automatically land and take-off, fly for ten hours at 100 Nm and carry 100 kilos of payload, i.e. radar and optronics, as explained by the French Navy, who are expected to take on the drone as they search for a fit to their SDAM program ( Système de Drone Aérien pour la Marine) which calls for a medium size VTOL UAV to be deployed from surface combatants; many capabilities which are similar to the ones required by the UAM industry, in terms of payload and total flight capabilites.
According to Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters, “This first flight of the VSR700 prototype is a major milestone for the programme as we make progress on the operational demonstrator for the French Navy that will perform trials in 2021 in partnership with Naval Group.”
The VSR700 prototype which has just performed its maiden flight is a step change from the optionally piloted demonstrator that first flew in 2017. For the first time, the VSR700 was fitted with specific avionics and flight controls, a payload bay, and a more aerodynamic profile to improve flight performance.
Why it’s important: The VSR700 or any of its derivatives will likely not see any part of the UAM industry, yet it is important to note the significance of the development of aircraft that are capable of taking unmanned flight for nearly a dozen hours while being able to carry roughly 6-8 passengers. The development of autonomous free flight in its complete form transferring over to Airbus’ UAM section could present a massive overhaul of how we approach the proposal of UAM services in urban areas.
Source // Naval News
At the Dubai Airshow on November 17th, UK aviation innovator Condor Aviation introduced the world to ‘White Lightning’, billed as the world’s first fully electric sports aircraft. The White Lightning plane was designed specifically for Air Race E, an upcoming electric air race series sponsored by Airbus. According to Air Race E, races will take place at just 33 feet...
At the Dubai Airshow on November 17th, UK aviation innovator Condor Aviation introduced the world to ‘White Lightning’, billed as the world’s first fully electric sports aircraft.
The White Lightning plane was designed specifically for Air Race E, an upcoming electric air race series sponsored by Airbus. According to Air Race E, races will take place at just 33 feet above the ground, and will feature a series of extremely tight turns on a circuit that’s only about 3 miles long. Currently, the newest plane can fly at full power for 12 minutes. The first Formula E air race is scheduled for 2020.
In tandem with this announcement, other electric airplane manufacturers have begun announcing major steps forward. Most recently, Colorado startup Bye Aerospace announced further progress on its eFlyer general aviation aircraft, releasing new flight test data that further proves the feasibility of this electric technology for flight.
Said George E. Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace, “In a series of flight tests, our team (has) explored a broad range of power settings and speeds using the Rolls Royce SP70d motor. Using a 60 kW power setting, rate of climb was 650 feet per minute and at 70 kW was 750 feet per minute at a relatively high 10,000 feet density altitude. Of particular note is that conventional general aviation aircraft achieve these climb rates only at sea level.”
Bye Aerospace and Condor Aviation are not the first to enter the electric aviation industry. Pipistrel, a light sport electric airplane maker based in Slovenia, has already delivered over 1300 of its aircraft to customers in 90 countries, and is working with Uber to develop the Pipistrel 801 eVTOL. Other electric aircraft makers, many of which aim at making regional commercial planes, include Zunum Aero, Eviation, Ampaire, MagniX, and Voltaero.
Why it’s important: The wide range of new electric aircraft under development and close to release will serve as a proving ground for larger electric airplanes as well as eVTOLs. Through e-racing and more, battery and aerodynamic performance will undergo flight tests and subsequent improvements, clearing the way for the future of electric flight.
Sources // New York Times, The National, Engadget, Bye Aerospace
Airbus invests in electric-propulsion technology to lead the way to more sustainable flight. According to Glenn Llewellyn, General Manager, Electrification at Airbus, zero-emission flight is not the “pipedream” that most people may think. His latest project E-Fan X—a complex hybrid-electric aircraft demonstrator—is the next step in Airbus’ electrification journey. When the demonstrator embarks on its first flight in 2021, the E-Fan X will be...
Airbus invests in electric-propulsion technology to lead the way to more sustainable flight.
According to Glenn Llewellyn, General Manager, Electrification at Airbus, zero-emission flight is not the “pipedream” that most people may think. His latest project E-Fan X—a complex hybrid-electric aircraft demonstrator—is the next step in Airbus’ electrification journey. When the demonstrator embarks on its first flight in 2021, the E-Fan X will be a giant leap towards making zero-emission flight a reality by the mid-2030s.
Aviation connects people, cultures and businesses. It enables mutual understanding and is considered a contributor to world peace. The problem is not aviation. The problem is carbon.
Glenn Llewellyn, Airbus General Manager, Electrification
In preparation for the demonstrator’s first flight in 2021, the E-Fan X’s electric motor will undergo rigorous testing at the E-Aircraft System (EAS) House. This newly developed facility about 13 kilometres from Munich is dedicated to the advancement of electric propulsion and its contribution to the goal of zero-emission flight. The E-Aircraft System House is Europe’s largest test facility dedicated to alternative propulsion systems and fuels, and second in the world only to NASA’s facility in the U.S.
In early 2020, Rolls-Royce will deliver the electric motor that will replace one of the four gas turbines installed on the test aircraft—a BAe 146. The electric motor will be equipped with 2 MW of power. Once the electric motor arrives, it will undergo rigorous testing. This starts with mounting the electric motor on one of the EAS test rigs, applying the required sensors and installing cameras to monitor progress. The testing will be extensive but necessary to prove the viability of the electric motor’s capabilities in preparation for the E-Fan X’s first flight, scheduled for 2021.
There are already many electrification efforts, mostly focused on smaller aircraft. Zunum Aero, backed by Boeing and JetBlue Airways Corp., aims to bring a hybrid-electric commuter model to market by 2022. MagniX Technologies Pty Ltd. is developing a propulsion system for an all-electric plane with a similar date in mind. Israeli startup Eviation is also going fully electric, with a nine-passenger plane that made its debut at the Paris Air Show in June.
Why it’s important: In June, Toulouse, France-based Airbus, its U.S. rival Boeing Co. and other large players pledged to reduce the industry’s net CO2 emissions by half in 2050 compared with 2005 levels. Airlines and aircraft manufacturers are under intense scrutiny over the industry’s role in contributing to global warming, but their ability to respond is limited by development cycles lasting a decade or longer and products that can last 50 years. Meanwhile, rising air traffic is adding to pressure on the sector to come up with a response. It is efforts such as Airbus’ E-Fan X that will ultimately alleviate the carbon footprint of the aviation industry, and inspire and jumpstart other sustainable practices in cities worldwide.
JetPack secures funding to build a futuristic flying motorcycle JetPack has raised a seed round of $2 million from investors indulging Draper Associates, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, YC, Cathexis Ventures and a group of angels that it says will fund the development of the Speeder’s first functional prototype. Earlier this month, we reported on a competitor, Aviator Cycles, debuting its own...
JetPack secures funding to build a futuristic flying motorcycle
JetPack has raised a seed round of $2 million from investors indulging Draper Associates, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, YC, Cathexis Ventures and a group of angels that it says will fund the development of the Speeder’s first functional prototype. Earlier this month, we reported on a competitor, Aviator Cycles, debuting its own prototype for a flying motorcycle.
These vehicles fit a niche market, likely best suited for futuristic/sci-fi-like recreation, rather than inter-city transport. Earlier this year, JetPack revealed plans for the their prototype, dubbed, the Speeder. The company claims the motorcycle can be controlled by a pilot, but will be mostly or completely autonomous, if desired. JetPack also claims the vehicle can reach speeds in excess of 400mph and has an impressive 5 minute refueling time.
“Should fully fund the first full-scale flying prototype, including all modeling designs and build,” says JetPack CEO and founder, David Mayman. Mayman is no stranger to pushing the edge in aerospace. He brings experience from creating an actual jet pack capable of speeds over 100mph and a small footprint.
JetPack believes the Speeder is more viable near-term than other VTOL designs because it will rely on turbine propulsion, rather than battery-based flight systems. Mayman states, “current battery energy density is just too low for most electrically powered VTOLs to be truly practical,” and that timelines optimistically for that to change are in the five to 10-year range.
Why it matters: JetPack appears to be entering a niche space of the eVTOL and aerial mobility industry. While other companies are emerging, their unique proposal of using turbine-based propulsion may bring them to market faster, but it remains to be seen if their operating costs will be superior to electric alternatives. Ultimately, it may not matter as these flying motorcycles are likely to be used solely for recreational purposes where operating economics aren’t as necessary of a consideration. Backed with Mayman’s experience in developing jet pack prototypes, we expect JetPack to be in the conversation of this sector in the coming years.
Source // Tech Crunch
Chung Euisun, executive vice chairman at Hyundai Motor Group, has vowed that the auto group will develop its own flying car technology by 2023 and commercialize air taxi service by 2029. Chung Euisun, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, has unveiled lofty ambitions of the Korean auto giant taking on aerial mobility at last week’s Mobility Innovators Forum 2019...
Chung Euisun, executive vice chairman at Hyundai Motor Group, has vowed that the auto group will develop its own flying car technology by 2023 and commercialize air taxi service by 2029.
Chung Euisun, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, has unveiled lofty ambitions of the Korean auto giant taking on aerial mobility at last week’s Mobility Innovators Forum 2019 in San Francisco.
“Our plan is to introduce UAM vehicles in 2023 and to provide its commercial service in 2029 after ironing out regulation issues,” Chung said in a hope that such flying cars can resolve the current traffic issues in urban areas.
“Even electric vehicles and micro scooters, considered innovative means, cannot address those pending issues stemming from restricted road conditions because they are still road transportation means,” said Chung. “It would be difficult to address the fundamental issues without an urban planning that can embrace new types of mobility” such as flying cars.
The company has already begun studying a potential step into the aerial mobility space and has dedicated a division to the development of their related technologies and business activities. Hyundai has recruited one of NASA’s top managers as its vice president to lead the division.
“Having worked on cutting-edge aviation research and development at NASA for 30 years, I am very excited and humbled by the opportunity to now shape urban air mobility strategy at Hyundai Motor Group. The new team at Hyundai will develop core technologies that will establish the company as a driving force in urban air mobility, a sector that is expected to grow into a market worth USD 1.5 trillion within the next 20 years.” Dr. Shin stated of his new role.
Hyundai has also set up the Human-Centered City Advisory Group which will help develop a vision for future cities, which hopes to build a guideline for future smart city development. While in San Francisco, Chung met with various technology startup leaders such as Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. The executive vice chairman is also known to be directly involved in startup investment and encouraging employees to take bold initiatives from the beginning.
Why it matters: The automotive industry will be a key factor in accelerating the growth of the aerial mobility demand forecasts. The industry offers low-cost scaled manufacturing and operations expertise which will be vital to eVTOL’s commercial success. Hyundai’s commitment to aerial mobility and future city planning will likely garner the interest of other automotive OEMs around the world, increasing competition within the eVTOL space.
Source // Pulse News
CAMI seeks to garner public support of urban air mobility as the technology and regulations progress. The Seattle-based Community Air Mobility Initiative (CAMI) has announced its launch with the support of its founding members, including aircraft manufacturers Bell and Joby Aviation, as well as non-profit organizations such as the NBAA. “New technologies and new aircraft promise to make flight accessible and...
CAMI seeks to garner public support of urban air mobility as the technology and regulations progress.
The Seattle-based Community Air Mobility Initiative (CAMI) has announced its launch with the support of its founding members, including aircraft manufacturers Bell and Joby Aviation, as well as non-profit organizations such as the NBAA. “New technologies and new aircraft promise to make flight accessible and practical on a daily basis for more people than ever before,” said CAMI co-executive director Anna Dietrich. “With that promise comes the responsibility to integrate those aircraft into our communities safely, responsibly, and equitably. We created CAMI as the industry’s commitment to our neighbors and the decision-makers who support them to work to ensure that happens.”
CAMI’s mission is to support the responsible integration of urban air mobility (UAM) into communities through education, communication, and advocacy. The non-profit, led by industry experts and professionals in aviation, transportation, and public policy, hopes to influence and educate communities and decision makers at the state and local level. CAMI recognizes that to be successful, urban air mobility must be safe, quiet, and a desired component of our communities. As such, it will lead the joint effort and collaboration of multiple stakeholders in the industry to overcome challenges including traffic congestion, environmental impacts and noise, to name a few.
“As the aviation industry continues to mature the technologies needed to bring electric aircraft into communities, it became clear that the most important need was to bridge the work of the industry with the local communities where this technology will be implemented,” said Yolanka Wulff, co-Executive Director. Wulff is the second co-executive director of CAMI, and brings a law background, as well as a focus on sustainable aviation, standards development, and public affairs. “CAMI understands the importance of working with all of the stakeholders to develop urban air mobility that integrates with existing and future urban and regional transportation systems.”
Why it’s important: CAMI is poised to be an influential organization in the developmental years of aerial mobility. Initial support has been garnered across various areas of the transportation and aviation industries, including aircraft manufacturers and suppliers, operators, industry associations, state and local agencies, ecosystem members, academia, and nonprofits. In addition to external support, CAMI has attracted top experts with the experience and mindset essential to the development of feasible and widely accepted aerial mobility solutions.
Source // CAMI Press Release
The company prepares for their predicted $100 million Initial Public Offering eVTOL manufacturer EHang recently filed an SEC F1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in preparation for their predicted $100 million initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq. This indicates EHang’s intention to offer Class A ordinary shares before the end of 2019, and will be listed under...
The company prepares for their predicted $100 million Initial Public Offering
eVTOL manufacturer EHang recently filed an SEC F1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in preparation for their predicted $100 million initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq. This indicates EHang’s intention to offer Class A ordinary shares before the end of 2019, and will be listed under Nasdaq symbol “EH”. This IPO would make EHang the first of many eVTOL startups to go public.
In the filing, EHang indicated that their main focus for now would be on the Chinese market. With the state of US and European aviation regulatory frameworks still in uncertainty in regards to eVTOLs, the preference for their domestic market is not unsurprising. According to the F1 filing, EHang have delivered 38 AAVs since March 2018 to various partners and prospective distributors, including freight group DHL-Sinotrans, and “unfulfilled orders” for 28 more aircraft.
During the first six months of 2019, EHang reported a net loss of $5.5 million, which was 42% higher than the loss it incurred in the same period for 2018. Revenue for the first six months of 2019 were also down by 15.6% at $4.7 million. During 2017, EHang subsidiaries in Germany and the U.S. filed for bankruptcy and these cases are still being resolved. The company indicated that these companies traded as sales organizations for consumer drones before it decided to withdraw from the market in those countries.
Why it’s important: EHang has a diverse product portfolio and demonstrated reliability and consistency in their products and deliveries. The funds provided by the IPO could help EHang with an increased focus in a smaller market, and allow it to expand naturally in the coming years.
Source // AIN Online
Bye Aerospace, Oxis Energy Begin Collaboration to Increase the Endurance of Future Bye Aerospace eAircraft
OXIS Energy and Bye Aerospace have begun a 12-month collaborative program announced in late July that seeks to achieve a 50% to 100% increase in flight time from a single charge on Bye Aerospace eAircraft. OXIS has developed an innovative Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) battery technology that offers significant benefits to aviation markets. Compared to existing Li-ion battery systems technology, the...
OXIS Energy and Bye Aerospace have begun a 12-month collaborative program announced in late July that seeks to achieve a 50% to 100% increase in flight time from a single charge on Bye Aerospace eAircraft.
OXIS has developed an innovative Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) battery technology that offers significant benefits to aviation markets. Compared to existing Li-ion battery systems technology, the high gravimetric energy density of the OXIS technology – in excess of 500 Wh/kg at 20Ah capacity – offers a two-fold reduction in battery system weight resulting in a significant increase in flight duration.
At the outset, the program will test OXIS cells and modules against the performance characteristics of existing and soon-to-be-announced Bye Aerospace aircraft. This will produce data that will demonstrate the advantages of the OXIS Li-S technology to the aerospace sector and more specifically, to Bye Aerospace’s future aviation applications.
OXIS CEO, Huw Hampson-Jones said, “We believe this collaboration will offer Bye Aerospace the confidence that OXIS Li-S systems will deliver the battery technology that meets the demanding performance and quality required to increase the efficiencies of their future electric aircraft. OXIS is focusing its research and development on the transformation of piston and turbo prop aircraft that is required for regional flight transportation. We believe this to be the first phase in the electrification of commercial aircraft and will ultimately form the basis for the electrification of Air Taxis, with the additional requirement for regional aircraft.
The United States has an impressive tradition of aviators who understand the need to experiment and embark on the deployment of new innovative technology, thus effecting a seismic paradigm shift in the powering of aircraft from using lead based fossil fuels to Li-S battery systems that are free of any toxic pollutants. As a consequence of the significant extension of aircraft flight duration, both companies believe this will allow for the widespread adoption of electric aircraft across the skies of the United States.”
George E. Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace, acknowledged the importance of next-generation technologies to help companies such as Bye Aerospace keep up with the revolutionary trends of electric aviation and the resulting demands for more efficient aircraft. “OXIS Energy’s battery technology continues to be an important consideration, and we appreciate the opportunity to collaborate in this way.”
Why it matters: Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) batteries appear to be the future of electrically-propulsed aircraft given its superior energy density and weight reduction potential. The new technology will offer eVTOL and electric aircraft manufacturers greater flexibility in expanding a vehicle’s range, payload capacity, or a combination of both. As energy density improves, we expect electric propulsion aircraft to become a reality for manufacturers and customers across the industry and their stakeholders.
How the UAM Working Group Aims to Help Advance Composite Manufacturing Tech Aerospace grade composites have long been regarded as the golden standard for quality and durability. How can single batch production ramp to support the demands of a new industry? Composite manufacturing is common place among aerospace, automotive racing, and other high performance transportation modes – but it’s not...
How the UAM Working Group Aims to Help Advance Composite Manufacturing Tech
Aerospace grade composites have long been regarded as the golden standard for quality and durability. How can single batch production ramp to support the demands of a new industry?
Composite manufacturing is common place among aerospace, automotive racing, and other high performance transportation modes – but it’s not currently staged to support the growing demands of transformative modes of transportation that will require assembly-line scale mass produced material to bolster production levels to 100’s and 1,000’s of units per month from less than 10.
The American Composites Manufacturers Association, in partnership with aerial mobility startup Happy Take Off, are focusing directly on enabling the business relationships that will facilitate creative solutions to this problem. In partnership with over 20 companies from the aerospace and automotive manufacturing industries, ACMA and HTO hosted an Urban Air Mobility Meeting on September 25th in Anaheim, CA to form the UAM Working Group and kickoff discussions on advanced manufacturing processes for aerospace and automotive grade materials, composite material sciences developments, and how technology, aerospace, and automotive companies alike can leverage one another’s strengths to create solutions to the challenges of mass produced composites faster than any one company may be able to.
The partnerships aren’t without risk – it’ll be a challenging decision for some companies to offer up their IP in hopes of a greater return through collaboration. However, the UAM Working Group aims to facilitate those discussions at a high level, and then allow members of the group to talk specifics amongst themselves. Founder of Happy Take Off, Danielle McLean describes the aim of the group: “Our aim is to facilitate the high level, initial connection between players in the aerospace and automotive composites industries, and then allow them to dive further into the details of those partnerships privately.” ACMA’s Vice President of Composites Market Development, Dan Coughlin added that the working group is also encouraging the development of P3’s (public private partnerships) with Federal agencies including the Department of Defense, NASA and Department of Energy toward the betterment of composites manufacturing.
“Through our outreach, market development, and advocacy capabilities, ACMA connects industry with Federal agencies and policy makers in Washington, DC. The manufacturing needs of the UAM industry are challenging. ACMA will provide essential support for the UAM industry’s ambitious growth plans through our partnership, advocacy, and networking opportunities.
NASA’s Aeronautics Research Institute is also involved – Parimal Kopardekar (PK), Ph.D., and director of NARI plans to serve as a charter member of the UAM Working Group. In total, the UAM Working Group has combined players from UAM, tech, aerospace, automotive, governmental policy, private policy, and trade organizations in very short order, and is poised well to make an impact on the future of composites manufacturing for the aerial mobility industry.
About Happy Take Off and ACMA
Happy Take Off is focused on creation of modular vertiports than can be used on most existing buildings. HTO’s goal is to grow the number of applicable landing sites for UAM operations while minimizing the infrastructure and financial barriers to entry for vertiports. These modular vertiports will be completely self-contained, include live weather data for better route planning, and allow developers who aren’t as familiar with the industry to gain exposure and demo being a part of commercial UAM operations much easier than before.
The American Composites Manufacturing Association (ACMA) the world’s largest composites industry trade group. By delivering invaluable education and events, access to market intelligence, and by working with regulators and legislators, ACMA serves as the center of expertise and competence and an essential driver of industry growth and prosperity. ACMA represents small and large companies—manufacturers, suppliers and distributors, and affiliates—from every market segment in all 50 states as well as international members.
Why it’s important: Companies like Icon Aircraft have been wildly popular for creating easy to fly, clean sheet general aviation aircraft that generate marketing buzz commensurate of a newly released supercar – but the technologies to enable mass production of the same or similar materials that are already in use for general aviation aerospace applications are years away from reality. The partnership between ACMA and Happy Take Off, in addition to the 50+ companies participating in the Urban Air Mobility meeting in Anaheim, CA, suggests that these discussions are already advancing progress less than a month after the formal program was announced.
Below is a full list of companies currently committed to the UAM Working Group:
Airspace Experience Technologies
Boat Works of South Windsor, Inc.
Diab Americas LP
NEXA Capital Partners, LLC
Oak Ridge National Lab
Superior Huntingdon Composites, LLC
TxV Aero Composites