Volansi – a designer, manufacturer, and service provider for autonomous VTOL UAVs – has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the United States Air Force (USAF) through the Department of the Air Force Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Center of Excellence innovation program. At the United States Air Force’s Agility Prime Virtual Trade Show in...
Volansi – a designer, manufacturer, and service provider for autonomous VTOL UAVs – has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the United States Air Force (USAF) through the Department of the Air Force Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Center of Excellence innovation program.
At the United States Air Force’s Agility Prime Virtual Trade Show in May of this year, Volansi unveiled its VOLY M20 UAV – a new generation of dual role aircraft offering customers the ability to simultaneously carry 20 pounds of cargo and a 10 pound ISR or sensor payload. It was designed to meet the exacting requirements of commercial customers operating in remote maritime locations and military customers who require a flexible vehicle for resupply and ISR applications. The VOLY M20 has a 350-mile range, cruising at 75 mph, and more than eight hours of endurance for sensor operations.
The Phase II contract will allow Volansi to demonstrate the innovative capabilities of the long-distance, heavy-payload VOLY M20 VTOL drone.
“The VOLY M20 was designed with modularity and mission flexibility in mind,” Volansi CEO and Co-Founder, Hannan Parvizian said. “The user experience is a key pillar of this design. We incorporated all the feedback we received from our customers on the need for an easy to use, maintain, and operate aircraft that is capable of operating on both land and at sea.”
“We are delighted for this SBIR Phase II award and look forward to partnering with the United States Air Force Special Operations Command on this project,” said Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi. “Our goal is to develop technology that unburdens, equips, and increases the warfighter’s capability to successfully compete and win in any situation. We are proud to continue to contribute to the work that our brothers and sisters are doing within the United States Military.”
In a prior SBIR Phase I award, Volansi’s group 3 VTOL unmanned aerial vehicle, the VOLY C20, was successfully evaluated as an effective tool to enable resupply of the warfighter of tomorrow. Volansi’s UAVs are already in use for commercial cargo delivery projects around the world, and soon-to-begin commercial drone delivery projects launching in the United States this summer.
Why it’s important: The VTOL design of the VOLY M20 enables it to complete complex missions with minimal to zero infrastructure needs. The vehicle’s ability to land at the delivery point and return with cargo such as samples for analysis, diagnosis, or repair makes it a viable and particularly applicable product suited to the needs of the United States Air Force. Backed by the U.S. Military through both the Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards, Volansi appears to have a strong lead on provisioning the next age of aerial mobility for military applications.
- USAF Agility Prime Solicitation Kicks Off
- Joby and Beta Sign Prototyping Contracts for USAF’s Agility Prime Initiative
- Volansi, Inc. Hires Former Amazon PrimeAir Co-Founder as Chief Technology Officer
Source // Volansi press release
CoMotion LAB (C-LAB) MIAMI plans to pilot innovative new mobility solutions throughout Miami-Dade County to spur growth and job creation. The launch of C-LAB MIAMI was announced at the two day web-broadcasted conference this week from June 30th through July 1st. The conference featured aerial mobility and future of transportation talks by global mayors, leading technologists, public transport operators and...
CoMotion LAB (C-LAB) MIAMI plans to pilot innovative new mobility solutions throughout Miami-Dade County to spur growth and job creation.
The launch of C-LAB MIAMI was announced at the two day web-broadcasted conference this week from June 30th through July 1st. The conference featured aerial mobility and future of transportation talks by global mayors, leading technologists, public transport operators and venture capitalists, start-ups and established players. Two days of immersive and inspirational talks, demos, & workshops offered a path forward for cities in mobility in light of our current crisis. Speakers at CoMotion Miami featured Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Giménez, LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds, and JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation.
C-LAB MIAMI aims to source and attract innovative ideas and technologies from around the world and test them through local proof of concepts and then develop policy recommendations in each particular focus area. C-LAB MIAMI activities are also designed to help spur economic growth and job creation as Miami-Dade and Florida begin to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez announced C-LAB MIAMI in keynote remarks opening the first edition of CoMotion MIAMI LIVE, a new annual gathering of global mobility and transit leaders. “CoMotion LAB MIAMI is designed to make our county a vibrant living lab of new mobility in order to create new services for our residents and thus jobs and economic activity,” said Mayor Gimenez in his remarks to several thousand mobility and urban leaders participating virtually from North America, Latin America and around the world.
C-LAB is designed as an advanced and connected urban playground for mobility innovation in which public rights of way in the County and in adjacent geographies are used to develop and validate new and commercially-viable transport technologies. Miami-Dade County, with its 5,500 miles of public roads, its airspace and its maritime channels, provides a complex and variegated testing geography, representative of different kinds of urban geographies throughout the United States and beyond: dense urban center, exurban sprawl, developer-led communities.
C-LAB is empowered by the Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works and other key public sector stakeholders in the county and the state to oversee mobility pilot zones and streamline administrative processes to test new mobility technologies and solutions. The first areas to be focused on in 2020/2021 are:
- Urban Air Mobility for EMS
- Smart curb management + smart infrastructure
- Decarbonizing maritime mobility in maritime and riverine cities
- New frameworks for public/private partnerships in transit (including data management and data governance)
Among the first founding members of C-LAB are some of the most important companies leading mobility and transportation innovation: Uber, HNTB, Lacuna, Joby Aviation, Via and INRIX. The NewCities Foundation, a leading global non-profit focused on city-building around the world, is also backing the initiative.
Why it’s important: CoMotion Miami had representation from over 35 countries across the globe, all striving to foster the development of future mobility infrastructure and establish regulations for new industries, including aerial mobility. 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.
- CoMotion LA Recap: Sikorsky to Advance Aerial Mobility Vision
- Joby and Beta Sign Prototyping Contracts for USAF’s Agility Prime Initiative
- EHA and EASA Launch a Collaborative Conference for VTOL Tech
Source // CoMotion press release
Cuberg, a startup battery company based in Emeryville, California, has verified the performance of its cell-level battery – 369 Watt-hours per kilogram at a discharge rate of C/20. This was verified in testing at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), with Cuberg cells demonstrating a specific power of 2,000 Watts per kilogram. Cuberg’s announcement highlighted an exceptional combination of specific energy, specific...
Cuberg, a startup battery company based in Emeryville, California, has verified the performance of its cell-level battery – 369 Watt-hours per kilogram at a discharge rate of C/20. This was verified in testing at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), with Cuberg cells demonstrating a specific power of 2,000 Watts per kilogram.
Cuberg’s announcement highlighted an exceptional combination of specific energy, specific power, and cycle life in an independent testing and verification process conducted on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy. The results, including up to 80% increase in specific energy relative to Li-ion cells of comparable high-power output, represent a major step forward in the performance and maturity of battery technology for the future of electric mobility. Online publication Sustainable Skies has analyzed Cuberg’s results in detail, and the provided charts can be found in their full writeup “Cuberg Batteries – Some Real Numbers“.
While the global market for batteries to power electric mobility is expected to reach $300B per year by 20301, increasing power demands are driving Li-ion battery technology to its physical limits on performance and safety. Cuberg’s batteries, based on its breakthrough lithium metal technology, are optimally designed for successful commercialization. The batteries deliver greatly increased range and capacity with competitive cost of ownership under realistic operating conditions. In addition, Cuberg’s batteries use a non-flammable proprietary electrolyte that provides substantial safety advantages over Li-ion batteries.
Critically, Cuberg has achieved these industry-leading results in a pouch cell using technology that capitalizes on the scale and quality of the existing Li-ion manufacturing ecosystem. These strengths will ultimately allow Cuberg to bring next-gen batteries to the automotive market, delivering significant improvements in range and cost while preserving the substantial deployed capital base of Li-ion manufacturing.
“Cuberg’s mission is to deliver next-gen batteries to power the rise of electric mobility, and an essential part of our strategy is to achieve independent verification and transparency of our results,” said Richard Wang, co-founder and CEO of Cuberg. “We are gratified to receive this verification by INL of the industry-leading performance and reliability of our technology, and excited to be working with our customers to begin full-scale flight testing in their aircrafts in the next year.”
Three key battery performance measures need to be optimized in balance for successful aviation commercialization: specific energy, which allows for longer flight times and ranges at a given weight; specific power output, which enables greater aircraft weights and payload capacity; and cycle life, which impacts cost of ownership. INL’s testing on Cuberg’s 5-Ah (amp-hour) battery cells indicated specific energy of 369 Wh/kg, specific power of 2,000 W/kg, and 370 cycles with C/2 charging before the cells reached end of life at an 80% capacity cut-off. Batteries providing in excess of 350 Wh/kg of specific energy represent a critical threshold for the electric aviation market. Cuberg is the first company to successfully combine this level of energy with high power and competitive cycle life under realistic operating conditions. Full testing results can be seen here.
Why it’s important: As emphasized by Liangbing Hu, the Herbert Rabin Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Materials Innovation, Materials Science, and Engineering at the University of Maryland, “the delivery of highly efficient, cost-effective and safe battery technology at scale is essential to enable the future of electric mobility. Passing the 350 Wh/kg threshold under realistic operating conditions is an important advancement and an impressive achievement.” Cuberg’s announcement represents a major milestone in the advancement of battery performance and maturity for the future of electrified aerial mobility.
- Cuberg’s Battery Produces 70% Increase in Flight Time for Drones
- OXIS Energy to Develop Lightweight Battery Cell for Bye Aerospace eFlyer
Sources // Cuberg Press Release; Sustainable Skies
The race will demonstrate the latest advancements in the Airspeeder’s hovering and maneuvering technology, and hopefully boost tourism to Coober Pedy, which has seen visitor numbers plunge during the COVID-19 pandemic. To many it may sound futuristic, but international startup Alauda Racing says it will host a full-scale flying car race in remote South Australia before the end of the year....
The race will demonstrate the latest advancements in the Airspeeder’s hovering and maneuvering technology, and hopefully boost tourism to Coober Pedy, which has seen visitor numbers plunge during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To many it may sound futuristic, but international startup Alauda Racing says it will host a full-scale flying car race in remote South Australia before the end of the year. Airspeeder has been developing the cars, which use drone technology to hover and maneuver above ground. The startup’s co-founder, Matt Pearson, said despite the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was a big year for the industry. “With electric aviation, with the drone industry, with the autonomous vehicle industry boom — all the technology that makes autonomous electric cars possible, are making the electric flying cars industry,” he said in a recent interview.
The Alauda Airspeeder is a small single seater eVTOL designed for racing. According to Pearson, the vehicle is best described as a cross between an F1 car and a racing drone, and is capable of flying up to 124mph. Approximately one year ago, Alauda’s unmanned prototype of the speeder took to the skies at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Sussex, UK. Watch the Alauda video below:
Although Alauda experienced some technical difficulties with the Airspeeder at Goodwood, the Alauda team still plans on debuting races in 2020. Said Pearson, “with early technology, these things happen.” The Alauda team explained that the error, which caused the prototype to briefly lose control, would have been impossible in a manned aircraft.
He also was able to provide more details about what we can expect to see in Coober Pedy later this year and in the near future. The race will be a display for the public, demonstrating two remote-controlled cars being put through their paces. It will be a while however, before the vehicles have drivers in them. Airspeeder has approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to fly large scale, commercial drones, but is yet to negotiate a license to fly people. We’re working on that with the authorities — so not yet, but it is in process and we hope very soon we’ll have that possibility,” Mr. Pearson said.
Why it’s important: Australia has provided impressive support and infrastructure for many aerial mobility startups to begin testing their platforms in a controlled environment. Even Google and Amazon have chosen Australia for their test programs because of fairly advanced regulations. Alauda Racing hopes to capitalize on this opportunity to demonstrate a unique application of eVTOL technology that most have never fathomed possible. As an added benefit, this race is likely to draw tourism to the small town of Coober Pedy. With an extraterrestrial-style landscape, Coober Pedy will make for a thrilling backdrop to watch one of the world’s first flying car races.
Source // ABC News
While commercial aviation continues to feel the impact of COVID-19, Baillie Gifford signals its confidence in the future of transportation with a $35 million investment in aerial mobility vehicle startup, Lilium. Munich-based Lilium is an aviation company developing an emissions-free regional air mobility service. It has designed and prototyped the Lilium Jet, a brand-new type of aircraft that will enable it...
While commercial aviation continues to feel the impact of COVID-19, Baillie Gifford signals its confidence in the future of transportation with a $35 million investment in aerial mobility vehicle startup, Lilium.
Munich-based Lilium is an aviation company developing an emissions-free regional air mobility service. It has designed and prototyped the Lilium Jet, a brand-new type of aircraft that will enable it to deliver regional journeys that are considerably faster than rail or road, yet competitive in price. The demonstrator aircraft first flew in 2019 and is a five-seater, fully-electric aircraft that can take-off and land vertically (eVTOL). Lilium expects to service a sizeable global market demand by connecting communities at a fraction of the cost of conventional high-speed infrastructure, with zero operating emissions.
On Tuesday, Lilium welcomed respected investment management partnership, Baillie Gifford, as a new investor. Known for their track record of investing in high-impact technology companies such as Amazon, Tesla, Airbnb, Spotify and SpaceX, the partnership has invested $35m in the company, extending the current funding round to more than $275m, and total investment to date to more than $375m.
The news comes less than three months after Lilium confirmed it had received $240m in additional funding from existing investors including Atomico, Freigeist, LGT and Tencent, who led the investment round. Combined, these funds will support the further development of the Lilium Jet as well as underpinning preparations for serial production in Lilium’s newly-completed manufacturing facilities.
Commenting on the new investment, Christopher Delbrück, Chief Financial Officer, Lilium, said: “Baillie Gifford is one of the world’s most influential tech investors and their commitment to Lilium represents a significant vote of confidence in both our physical product and our business case.
“We look forward to working closely with Baillie Gifford as we seek to bring emissions-free, regional air mobility to the market as early as 2025.
“The funds raised during this round give us the security to weather the challenging economic landscape we see around us and we’re grateful to be able to stay fully focused on our mission.”
Commenting on their investment, Michael Pye, Investment Manager at Baillie Gifford, said: “We are delighted to support the remarkable team at Lilium in their ambition of developing a new mode of transport.
“While still at an early stage, we believe this technology could have profound and far-reaching benefits in a low-carbon future and we are excited to watch Lilium’s progress in the years ahead.”
Why it’s important: The aerial mobility industry is proving to be robust in these otherwise turbulent times for the aviation and transportation industries. Lilium, in particular, has boasted strong funding round results, and recently announced that it will resume flight testing after its employees spent over two months working off-site due to the global impacts of COVID-19.
Source // Lilium Media Release
Beta Technologies and Joby Aviation have just become first developers of urban air mobility vehicles to progress to the third stage of the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime program. The Agility Prime program is the flagship eVTOL program of the United States Air Force, as an increasing number of military organizations across the world become more interested in applications of...
Beta Technologies and Joby Aviation have just become first developers of urban air mobility vehicles to progress to the third stage of the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime program.
The Agility Prime program is the flagship eVTOL program of the United States Air Force, as an increasing number of military organizations across the world become more interested in applications of aerial mobility technology as supplemental (and eventually in replacement of) current mobility offerings for both manned and unmanned missions. The initiative is best described as an exchange of government resources with private companies for knowledge transfer, aerial demonstration flights, and potential aquisitions of various aerial mobility companies that elect to participate.
Beta Technologies and Joby Aviation are engaged in area of Interest One (AOI-1) of the solicitation campaign, which is seeking vehicles capable of transporting three to eight people at least 100 miles (160 kilometers) at speeds of at least 100 mph, with first flight taking place before the end of this year.
In a press release, Air Force program executive officer for Mobility and Training Aircraft, Lynda Rutledge, articulated the organization’s excitement to work with these innovative and quick-moving air vehicle manufacturers. In the first phase of the collaboration, Beta and Joby submitted “solutions briefs”. These led to a second phase in which the Air Force engaged with them directly to assess their vehicles’ commercial viability, operational utility, technical readiness level, certification path, timelines, needs, and opportunities. Now in the third stage, the OEMs may submit full written proposals for the potential award of an “Other Transaction for Prototype” (OTP) agreement.
Beta and Joby are among the most advanced and well-funded eVTOL developers in an increasingly crowded market. California-based Joby unveiled its prototype air taxi in January of this year, when it also announced $590 million in Series C funding, the bulk of which came from Toyota Motor Corp. Vermont-based Beta — which has already conducted an extensive flight test campaign with its Ava XC prototype — is now poised to reveal its new eVTOL, called ALIA. It has a launch customer in United Therapeutics, which plans to use the 6,000-pound (2,720-kilogram) aircraft to transport human organs.
Why it’s important: The defense sector’s increased interest in aerial mobility is providing a contract diversification opportunity for manufacturers such as Beta and Joby. The companies could greatly benefit in the long run by providing their products to both commercial and military applications, as it would enable financial diversity and mitigate the impact of a downturn in a single sector. The benefit of this strategy has recently been underscored by the impact of COVID-19; as the commercial aviation industry and aircraft orders have stalled, defense contractors continue to fulfill demand at exceedingly high rates.
Sources // USAF; eVTOL.com
The flight of the Cessna Grand Caravan 208B serves as another critical step in the certification and approval process of the magni500 propulsion system, enabling future conversions of additional aircraft to magniX’s all-electric propulsion technology. Based in Redmond, Washington, magniX is dedicated to connecting communities by enabling an era of clean and affordable commercial air travel with all-electric propulsion. The...
The flight of the Cessna Grand Caravan 208B serves as another critical step in the certification and approval process of the magni500 propulsion system, enabling future conversions of additional aircraft to magniX’s all-electric propulsion technology.
Based in Redmond, Washington, magniX is dedicated to connecting communities by enabling an era of clean and affordable commercial air travel with all-electric propulsion. The electric aviation startup has already developed 375HP and 750HP all-electric motors – which produce zero emissions and increased efficiency – and power electronics solutions for various aviation applications.
To achieve this milestone of flight testing the world’s largest all-electric aircraft, MagniX partnered with another Washington-based company, AeroTEC. AeroTEC has a strong track record of bringing products to market quickly, easily and efficiently, using innovative and scalable development, test, and certification techniques.
The successful flight of the eCaravan, magnified by a 750-horsepower (560 kW) magni500 propulsion system, took place at the AeroTEC Flight Test Center at the Grant County International Airport (KMWH) in Moses Lake, Washington on the morning of May 28th. As the world’s largest all-electric commercial aircraft, this is a significant milestone in disrupting the transportation industry and accelerating the electric aviation revolution.
“The iconic Caravan has been a workhorse of industry moving people and transporting goods on short routes for decades,” said Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX. “This first flight of the eCaravan is yet another step on the road to operating these middle-mile aircraft at a fraction of the cost, with zero emissions, from and to smaller airports. These electric commercial aircraft will enable the offering of flying services of people and packages in a way previously not possible.”
“I’m proud of the pioneering work performed by our engineers, technicians and flight test team,” said Lee Human, President and CEO of AeroTEC. “There’s no roadmap for testing and certifying electric aircraft – this is a new frontier and AeroTEC is on the front lines developing the processes and best practices that will pave the way for electric aviation.”
The flying of the eCaravan serves as another critical step in the certification and approval process of the magni500 propulsion system, enabling future conversions of additional aircraft to magniX’s all-electric propulsion technology.
The historic flight was captured via livestream and watched by people around the world. Following the flight, a virtual press conference was held in the Test Center’s hangar. To view images, recording of the virtual press conference and videos of the first flight of the world’s largest all-electric aircraft, visit: https://magnix.aero/ecaravan/.
Why it’s important: magniX and AeroTEC are ushering in a new wave of short-haul aviation propulsion technology, which will likely open the doors for various widespread applications in the near future. The success of this test flight demonstrates the availability of electric aviation technology and highlights the fact that technology is no longer a barrier to the implementation of aerial mobility infrastructure; certification, regulation, and public acceptance remain the primary hurdles that the industry faces.
Sources // magniX; PRNewsWire
The Pulse Concept system transfers its futuristic, transparent pod from the aircraft to the autonomous vehicle, so passengers never leave the safety of the pod. Embraer has positioned itself as an enduring leader in the aerial mobility industry with its EmbraerX eVTOL prototype, originally revealed at the 2nd Annual Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles, CA on May 8th, 2018. The company...
The Pulse Concept system transfers its futuristic, transparent pod from the aircraft to the autonomous vehicle, so passengers never leave the safety of the pod.
Embraer has positioned itself as an enduring leader in the aerial mobility industry with its EmbraerX eVTOL prototype, originally revealed at the 2nd Annual Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles, CA on May 8th, 2018. The company is also one of a handful of Uber’s OEM partners in its plan to stand up urban air mobility operations in strategically selected launch cities – Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne, according to most recent information.
As Embraer closes 50 years of operations as a reputable manufacturer of commercial and executive jets, the company looks forward to the next 50 years. The Pulse Concept touts many of the advanced technologies and interior design characteristics for which Embraer is known, and reaches even further to technology that has never before been implemented in its fleet, or on any air vehicle across the globe.
Some key features of the Pulse concept pod include its universal docking design for ground and air transportation, and a smart-glass cockpit that allows passengers to work, communicate, and be entertained during all transit modes. Embraer highlights that its eVTOL concept has the ability to extend air travel beyond airports, with “door-to-door service” between destinations. Its “bird-like” capabilities, synonymous with eVTOL technology, will equip the vehicle with highly desirable maneuverability in urban, or otherwise congested, areas.
Embraer recently disclosed more details on the materials and manufacturing plans for the pod in an interview with Robb Report:
“The fuselage is particularly interesting,” emphasized Jay Beever, vice president of interior design for Embraer Executive Jets. “The pod structure is made of transparent aluminum, otherwise known as Alon. Though this material is classified and currently being considered for use by NASA and other governmental anti-ballistic projects, I think it would make a fantastic fuselage material.”
“Our current aircraft interior guidelines require three layers of material breakup and material change when a function is required,” he says. “We also have a geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) strategy which allows for adjoining systems and parts to move and/or be fixed in place depending on the purpose.”
Why it’s important: Beever closed out the interview with Robb Report by remarking that “there are other features of this interior that provide a sneak peek into projects we are working on, but we can’t reveal those.” The Pulse Concept signifies Embraer’s confidence in aerial mobility as the future of aviation, as well as the company’s ability to continue research and development efforts while many players in the aviation and transportation industries tighten discretional spending due to COVID-19 financial impacts.
Sources // Robb Report; Embraer
Japanese flying car developer, SkyDrive, has entered the final stages of testing its demonstration vehicle after it completed Japan’s first-ever manned test flights. SkyDrive has completed its technical verification phase. Since launching an unmanned outdoor flight test in December 2018, it has conducted numerous technical verifications. This was followed by manned flight tests that started in December 2019 and completed...
Japanese flying car developer, SkyDrive, has entered the final stages of testing its demonstration vehicle after it completed Japan’s first-ever manned test flights.
SkyDrive has completed its technical verification phase. Since launching an unmanned outdoor flight test in December 2018, it has conducted numerous technical verifications. This was followed by manned flight tests that started in December 2019 and completed safely in March 2020 – confirming the controllability and flight stability of the test aircraft. The next stage, which is starting now, involves feeding back improvements to technical design that were picked up during the manned operation of the aircraft.
Related: Leading flying car developer SkyDrive, established by the members of CARTIVATOR, a group of aircraft, drones, and automotive engineers, has secured 14 Million USD through Third-party share issuance funding and subsidies. A total of 18.5 Million USD has now been raised and manned test flights will begin this year.
SkyDrive looks set to launch its flying car to the Japanese market in 2023. Safety is a key priority and it will be following the same level of development management that is practiced by conventional aircraft manufacturers during the airworthiness certification phase.
One safety solution SkyDrive has been developing with the Cartivator team is a pilot seat mounted on a crumple-capable column of shock-absorbing metal. The design is inspired by the impact-absorbing design on a popular Japanese running shoe, the “Mizuno Wave”, and has the potential to minimize lumbar spine shock of a direct vertical drop.
The company, based in Shinjuku ku, Tokyo, has also unveiled leading aerospace engineer Nobuo Kishi as its Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Mr Kishi, who has held top posts at Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, will take forward the final stages of testing. This airworthiness stage will involve testing the aircrafts suitability for safe flight.
In a press release, Nobuo Kishi, said:
“Throughout my career spanning four decades, I have gained considerable experience and knowledge in type certification, safety verification, project management, and system integration.
“I will help SkyDrive develop the flying car and bring it to the market. Together we will revolutionize the concept of air transport – benefitting both businesses and the lives of consumers.
“I would like to help take the industry forward by introducing a lean development process, while ensuring the same degree of safety as conventional aircraft, implementing advanced components, and employing innovative mass production processes learned from various industrial sectors.”
Why it’s important: Skydrive is on the leading edge of aerial mobility technology in Japan, and has a valuable combination of straight-forward, proven design characteristics as well as more far-reaching design ideas such as the Mizuno Wave shock absorption system. It remains to be seen how widely the company expands beyond Japan, but Skydrive’s strong funding and progress in testing has drawn attention across the globe.
Source // SkyDrive Press Release
The Pipistrel eVTOL Concept was unveiled at the 2nd annual Uber Elevate Summit on May 8th, 2018 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...
The Pipistrel eVTOL Concept was unveiled at the 2nd annual Uber Elevate Summit on May 8th, 2018 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.
However, the Slovenian electric aircraft manufacturer has recently announced a shift in its priorities away from it’s plan to develop the Pipistrel 801 eVTOL for Uber Air’s mobility service. This comes “after delays with the Uber flying taxi program by many international aviation authorities,” the company said. “Continual extensions to the deadline for the development of a flying taxi service, which was commissioned by U.S. company Uber, has given Pipistrel the time to investigate future opportunities, some [of which] have been in planning and development for several years.”
The Uber Air services are set to launch from 2023 in one or more of the early-adopter cities the company has identified, including Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne, Australia.
Meanwhile, Pipistrel has advanced its research and development efforts to serve other transport applications, and has revealed plans for two new cargo aircraft as well as a hydrogen-powered 10-seat regional airliner. One of the cargo aircraft now being advanced by Pipistrel is of a similar design to the 801 eVTOL and would carry a payload of 660 pounds approximately 200 miles. In an interview, the company said that it plans to deliver the first aircraft to an undisclosed customer in Asia during 2022 but, for now, has released no more details on its performance and specifications.
The second cargo aircraft is a fixed-wing design based on Pipistrel Alpha Electro electric light aircraft. It is being developed to be remotely piloted or manned and would be used for missions such as humanitarian relief, with packages being dropped from pods on each side of the wing and a cargo payload of almost 250 pounds.
In addition, Pipistrel is working with a group of European companies to develop a 19-passenger, hydrogen-powered aircraft that would fly routes of up to 300 miles at around one-quarter of the operational cost of conventional aircraft. The company reported it is in the final stages of testing a dual hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system and said the Miniliner concept could be ready to enter service in 2028.
Why it’s important: The socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 are evident in the aerial mobility industry. Shifts in focus, as demonstrated by Pipistrel, are the key to not only surviving financially, but also making a lasting impact that could expedite worldwide health service efforts. Pipistrel’s second cargo aircraft has potential to provide relief in locations across the globe where the pandemic is most prevalent.
Source // AINOnline
On April 18th, Boeing completed its first COVID-19 transport mission, using a 737-700 aircraft from its corporate fleet to bring personal protective equipment (PPE) from China to the United States. Since then, the aerospace giant has continued to employ tactics at a much larger scale. The first mission successfully transported 540,000 medical-grade face masks to healthcare professionals battling COVID-19 in New Hampshire. Boeing partnered...
On April 18th, Boeing completed its first COVID-19 transport mission, using a 737-700 aircraft from its corporate fleet to bring personal protective equipment (PPE) from China to the United States. Since then, the aerospace giant has continued to employ tactics at a much larger scale.
The first mission successfully transported 540,000 medical-grade face masks to healthcare professionals battling COVID-19 in New Hampshire. Boeing partnered with FIRST® Robotics and DEKA Research and Development Corporation Founder Dean Kamen to secure the face masks from manufacturers in China and turned to Boeing to facilitate their transport.
Since then, Boeing has continued to support local communities and the heroic healthcare professionals working tirelessly to stop the spread of COVID-19. These efforts have included close coordination with U.S. government officials on how to best assist areas with the greatest need, and with companies including Prisma Health, Atlas Air Worldwide and Discommon.
Founder of the aforementioned companies, Neil Ferrier, aided in the latest mission in which Boeing transported 1.5 million medical-grade face masks bound for healthcare professionals at Prisma Health in South Carolina. This mission was made possible by Boeing’s 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter (LCF), a wide-body cargo aircraft also known as the Dreamlifter. At 65,000 cubic feet (1,840 m³) the Dreamlifter can hold three times the volume of a 747-400F freighter. The aircraft flew from Hong Kong to Greenville, South Carolina, with the face masks in its lower lobe. Following the delivery, the Dreamlifter returned to its home base in North Charleston, South Carolina, and has since resumed delivery of 787 Dreamliner parts in support of the global aerospace supply chain.
Boeing will continue to plan additional airlift transport missions with the Dreamlifter and has plans to add other aircraft, such as its ecoDemonstrator, an experimental 777-200, and a Boeing Business Jet, to its COVID-19 support fleet.
Why it’s important: Amidst the company’s own COVID-19 operational challenges, Boeing has stepped up to provide medical support to communities in need. The combined efforts of companies across the globe is integral to global health and financial prosperity in these times. This demonstrates the meaningful impact that aerospace companies of any size and maturity can have during these times. Aerial mobility OEMs and operators have an opportunity to step up in a similar way and establish a logistics service with potential to extend even beyond COVID-19 support.
Skyports, the urban air mobility infrastructure provider and drone delivery operator, announced an extension to its Series A funding to now total £6 million ($8 million) with investment from Irelandia Aviation. Skyports aims to build and operate critical infrastructure for urban air mobility and managing end to end drone deliveries. The company is working with the leading electric vertical take-off and landing...
Skyports, the urban air mobility infrastructure provider and drone delivery operator, announced an extension to its Series A funding to now total £6 million ($8 million) with investment from Irelandia Aviation.
Skyports aims to build and operate critical infrastructure for urban air mobility and managing end to end drone deliveries. The company is working with the leading electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger and cargo vehicle manufacturers around the world to secure, design, build, own and operate vertiports enabling safe and efficient flight operations within urban and suburban environments. Ultimately, its vision includes end-to-end cargo drone deliveries within the medical, e-commerce and logistics sectors overcoming inefficiencies associated with traditional transportation methods.
Last December, Skyports announced that they’ve raised £5.35 million in Series A funding. The funding round was jointly led by Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures (DBDV) and Groupe ADP. Levitate Capital also participated in this funding round following their seed investment in the company in January 2018. Just this week, Irelandia Aviation announced that it joins existing Series A investors Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, Groupe ADP and Levitate Capital in the investment round.
Skyports intends to use the funds to continue its ambitious programme of site acquisition for passenger and cargo vertiports in cities around the world, including Singapore and Los Angeles. The company will also expand its team to enable the full commercialisation of its urban and rural drone delivery services.
Founder and managing partner of Irelandia Aviation, Declan Ryan, will take a seat on the Skyports board.
Duncan Walker, Chief Executive of Skyports, said: “Irelandia have been pioneers in the aviation industry for many years. Irelandia and the Ryan family have founded five airlines including Ryanair in Europe, Tiger Airways in Asia, Allegiant in the USA and Viva Air in Latin America where Declan is Executive Chairman. It is a privilege to welcome Declan to our board and testament to our ambition that he will be taking this position. Their investment further strengthens our financial position. Skyports investors have a combined balance sheet in excess of €80 billion (£70 billion) putting us in a unique position to build scale in this emerging industry.”
Declan Ryan, Managing Partner of Irelandia Aviation, said: “We are delighted to partner with the team at Skyports who have become leaders in the development of the infrastructure required to enable the UAM industry. We at Irelandia look forward to working with Skyports, aviation regulators, manufacturers and operators to expand in new markets and make UAM and drone services a reality globally. We look forward to furthering Irelandia’s demonstrated track record of democratizing air travel around the world.”
Why it’s important: The investment from Irelandia Aviation, the world’s premier low cost carrier (LCC) developer, is an early indication that aerial mobility is intended to be for the common commuter. Increased accessibility hinges on reasonably low price points for UAM transportation options, so the experience that Irelandia brings will have great value in striving toward this ultimate goal.
Source // Skyports
Bye Aerospace, developer of the eFlyer family of FAA Part 23-certified all-electric aircraft, announced that Cassie Kloberdanz Lee has joined the company as a Strategic Advisor. Lee is co-founder of the Brooke Owens Fellowship, a highly competitive internship and mentorship program designed to inspire and train undergraduate women seeking a career in aviation or space exploration. A global activist for...
Bye Aerospace, developer of the eFlyer family of FAA Part 23-certified all-electric aircraft, announced that Cassie Kloberdanz Lee has joined the company as a Strategic Advisor.
Lee is co-founder of the Brooke Owens Fellowship, a highly competitive internship and mentorship program designed to inspire and train undergraduate women seeking a career in aviation or space exploration. A global activist for women in aerospace, she is a member of an international team working on projects that ensure the benefits of space reach women and girls, and that women and girls play an active, equal role in the future of space. Previously, she served as Chief Operating Officer for Earthrise Alliance, a philanthropic organization that derives value from Earth system data to create actionable knowledge to combat climate change. She was also Head of Space Programs at Vulcan Inc., where she led the development of innovative space solutions in support of Paul G. Allen’s Impact initiatives such as improving ocean health, addressing climate change and using data to save species at risk of extinction.
Prior to her work at Vulcan, Lee was the Business Development Manager for Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems, where she held a variety of engineering roles on the Dream Chaser® orbital vehicle program and co-founded the Advanced Development Program. She has led Media and Public Relations for SpaceX and designed and taught a graduate-level course in Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Lee began her career as a Propulsion Engineer for NASA at Kennedy Space Center and the Marshall Space Flight Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado Boulder.
“We are honored to welcome Cassie to our elite group of strategic advisors,” said George E. Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace. “She brings a unique combination of aerospace engineering experience, philanthropy and education, not to mention her work in creating more global aviation and space exploration opportunities to young women.”
Why it’s important: Bye Aerospace aims for the eFlyer family of aircraft, including the 2-seat eFlyer 2 and the 4-seat eFlyer 4, to be the first FAA-certified, practical, all-electric airplanes to serve the flight training and general aviation markets. In order to achieve its goal, the company will require diverse perspectives from experienced professionals spanning multiple industries. Lee brings to the table a perspective of environmental sustainability, in addition to her activism amongst women in aerospace; both focuses are critical to the longevity of aviation for decades to come.
Source // Bye Aerospace
EHang Holdings Limited (Nasdaq: EH) has announced new progress in implementing real-world Urban Air Mobility (UAM) applications for medical emergency transport uses to combat the coronavirus outbreak in China. Related: EHang’s IPO Results in $662 Million Valuation In recent exercises for the prevention and control of coronavirus epidemic organized by the local authorities of Hezhou city in Guangxi province, EHang 216, the two-seat passenger-grade AAV...
EHang Holdings Limited (Nasdaq: EH) has announced new progress in implementing real-world Urban Air Mobility (UAM) applications for medical emergency transport uses to combat the coronavirus outbreak in China.
In recent exercises for the prevention and control of coronavirus epidemic organized by the local authorities of Hezhou city in Guangxi province, EHang 216, the two-seat passenger-grade AAV successfully transported medical supplies from Hezhou Square to the Hezhou People’s Hospital, which is 4 kilometers apart, by accurately landing on a 25-story rooftop of the hospital.
The EHang 216 AAV autonomously returned following the delivery. The 8-kilometer round-trip flight operation was unmanned which is critical in current epidemic situation. This has opened up a new opportunity for EHang’s AAVs in immediate UAM applications such as medical emergency transport, which currently largely relies on ambulance cars or helicopters.
More importantly, designed as a passenger-grade AAV, EHang 216 can not only transport medical supplies, but also transport personnel in emergency situations. Edward Xu, EHang’s Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), took a 4-kilometer autonomous flight from the city center and landed safely on the rooftop of the hospital (picture below) in one of the series of urban passenger-carrying flights to test run this use case in Hezhou, including the flights at nights, with the range covering the whole city (over 15 kilometers) and at a cruising speed as high as 90 kilometers per hour.
“Personally, I’m proud to be one of the passengers to take the initial autonomous flights for medical emergency transport, and enjoyed the safe, fast and smooth journey. In urban emergency situation, this enables people or goods to be transported efficiently across the city in nearly straight-line routes. More importantly, as a passenger, I was free to enjoy my tea and urban scenery during the whole flight as everything was automatically piloted,” said Edward. “Such successful flights have demonstrated EHang’s capabilities in delivering safe and high quality AAVs to meet mission-critical demands in real life. We will continue to implement more UAM applications.”
Why it’s important: From surveillance to medical supply deliveries, China has deployed many cutting edge technologies in support of the fight against the coronavirus outbreak. EHang has proven the ability of its 216 eVTOL to support in these critical circumstances, and is not the first demonstration of aerial mobility technology being used in real-world medical support applications. An increase in the variety of successful executions of urban air mobility technology continues to advance the mobility industry and expand what many have thought possible for the utility of these vehicles.
Expo 2020 Dubai and Jetman Dubai have accomplished another world first in their quest to achieve 100 percent autonomous human flight: a take-off from the ground, transitioning into a high-altitude flight. On Friday February 14th, Jetman pilot Vince Reffet successfully launched into the air from the runway of Skydive Dubai and flew up to an altitude of 1,800 meters. This...
Expo 2020 Dubai and Jetman Dubai have accomplished another world first in their quest to achieve 100 percent autonomous human flight: a take-off from the ground, transitioning into a high-altitude flight.
On Friday February 14th, Jetman pilot Vince Reffet successfully launched into the air from the runway of Skydive Dubai and flew up to an altitude of 1,800 meters. This milestone proved that Jetmen can now fly directly upwards from a standing start without the need for an elevated platform or helicopter drop.
For both flights, Reffet was equipped with a carbon fiber wing powered by four mini jet engines. Controlled by the human body, the equipment enables the Jetman to reach speeds of 400kmh, as well as hovering, changing direction and performing loops. A manually controlled thrust vectoring nozzle allows the pilot to control rotations around the yaw axis at zero speeds, making human control of the wing possible in all flight phases without the aid of any electronic stabilization systems.
Previously, Jetmen have launched into the air by leaping downwards off elevated platforms such as a helicopter in flight. This included a jaw-dropping stunt in late 2019 – also part of Expo 2020’s Mission: Human Flight program – as Reffet and fellow Jetman Fred Fugen soared through Tianmen Cave (aka ‘Heaven’s Gate’) in China’s Hunan Province. Additionally, this is the first time that a Jetman pilot has combined hovering safely at a low altitude and flying aerobatics at a high altitude in the same flight.
Research supported by Expo 2020 Dubai has also focused on drastic risk reduction by studying speed profiles, engine parameters and flight attitudes. Should an engine failure have occurred at low altitude, Reffet was backed by a pyrotechnic safety parachute that reduces the critical phase of his flight to four seconds (when his altitude is between five and 50m). Jetman places a high priority on safety during these stunts, and claims “no fewer than 50 preparatory flights were conducted – comprising more than 100 take-offs and landings under a cable and with the safety of a fall arresting system, as well as in-flight tests next to a helicopter.”
Shortly after his landing, Vince Reffet commented: “We are so happy we achieved this incredible flight. It’s the result of extremely thorough teamwork, where each small step generated huge results. Everything was planned to the split second, and I was overjoyed by the progress that was achieved. It is another step in a long-term project. One of the next objectives is to land back on the ground after a flight at altitude, without needing to open a parachute. It’s being worked on.”
Why it’s important: Jetman has achieved and impressive and eye-catching milestone, but does not plan on stopping here. Development will continue in the coming months, and Ahmed Alshehhi, the first Emirati Jetman, continues to train as the UAE prepares to welcome 192 nations and millions of global visitors for Expo 2020 Dubai (from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021).
Source // Jetman