Hanwha Systems has announced that it will co-develop an air taxi with Overair Inc., a U.S. personal air vehicle (PAV) company. According to Hanwha Systems, the company attended the opening ceremony of Overair in Los Angeles, California, on February 14 and announced that it will participate in the joint development of air taxis in full-scale. Some attendees of the ceremony...
Hanwha Systems has announced that it will co-develop an air taxi with Overair Inc., a U.S. personal air vehicle (PAV) company. According to Hanwha Systems, the company attended the opening ceremony of Overair in Los Angeles, California, on February 14 and announced that it will participate in the joint development of air taxis in full-scale.
Some attendees of the ceremony include Hanwha Systems CEO Kim Yeon-chul, Overair CEO Ben Tigner and senior designer Abe Karem, attended the opening ceremony.
Starting with the opening ceremony, Hanwha Systems will join the joint development of Overair’s PAV, “Butterfly.” Until now, Hanwha Systems has accumulated technical skills for aviation electronics and ICT (Information Communication Technology). It is expected to develop PAVs armed with performance, price, design, advanced automatic flight, and safety.
The Butterfly is an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) optimized for urban aerial mobility services. The aircraft was conceptualized with noise reduction and efficiency in mind; the Butterfly is currently able to fly 100 kilometers at 240 km/hr (60 miles at 150 mph) or faster with five people — four passengers and one pilot — on board.
Hanwha Systems officially entered the urban aerial mobility market as of Dec. 8th of last year, when the CFIUS approved Hanwha’s $25 million USD investment in Overair. The two companies agreed to develop the Butterfly for civilian transportation systems with the aim of receiving a certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States. Hanwha Systems is also looking to expand its investment in Overair with the intention of spreading into the South Korean personal air vehicle (PAV) sector, which is gaining traction with the Korean Ministries of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, Trade, Industry, and Energy.
Overair is a spin-off from the eVTOL technology company Karem Aircraft and is one of the named partners of the Uber Elevate air taxi project. Abe Karem, an aviation expert with experience in designing 14 flying machines was founder of Karem Aircraft and is now co-founder and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Overair.
Hanwha Systems is planning to establish cooperation channels with Overair through its PAV task force, and to explore all-round business opportunities, starting with the joint development of PAVs and expanding cooperative ties with leading domestic and foreign companies.
“While the era of self-driving cars has recently opened and related technologies have been rapidly evolving, competition among global leading companies to enter the PAV market is accelerating,” said CEO Kim of Hanwha Systems. “At this time, Hanwha Systems is taking part in the joint development to preempt the PAV market, and we will further expand our business into the future aviation and electronics sectors.”
Why it’s important: The urban aviation industry has lately seen rapid growth in the number of multi-national investment deals and partnerships for the development and operation of new vehicles. Bell, subsidiary of Textron Inc, has partnered with Sumitomo Corp. and Japan Airlines as part of its mobility-as-a-service offerings, and Airbus recently secured a deal to lay the foundations for potential services with both passenger and larger cargo carrying air vehicles throughout Singapore. These collaborations are thought to be instrumental in the expedient implementation of urban aviation technology across the globe, and have already demonstrated success through milestones such as Volocopter’s first urban manned flight in Singapore last year.
Source // Korea IT Times
Singapore and Airbus have secured a deal to lay the foundations for potential services with both passenger and larger cargo carrying air vehicles throughout Singapore. The island-nation-state’s plan to improve regional connectivity builds on an earlier agreement established in 2016 between Airbus and Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAAS) for proof-of-concept trials of a cargo-carrying Skyways unmanned air system. Under the memorandum of...
Singapore and Airbus have secured a deal to lay the foundations for potential services with both passenger and larger cargo carrying air vehicles throughout Singapore. The island-nation-state’s plan to improve regional connectivity builds on an earlier agreement established in 2016 between Airbus and Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAAS) for proof-of-concept trials of a cargo-carrying Skyways unmanned air system.
Under the memorandum of understanding, Airbus and CAAS will develop an unmanned traffic management (UTM) system to support the early phase of the air mobility service. The two will also collaborate on developing a framework for safety and operating standards as well as study issues such as public acceptance. The framework will be based upon many of the learnings that have come out of Airbus’s Skyway program, which studied the ability to pre-program safe aerial routes for autonomous drones to execute short-range parcel deliveries.
According to Jean-Brice Dumont, executive vice president of engineering for Airbus, “Skyways was a laboratory for UAM at a smaller scale. Now we need to go the extra mile, so with this agreement we are doing that. There are still questions of the business case and technology. In terms of business, we can see an appetite in the market, even though it’s a niche right now for more emergency needs where time is of the essence or where its value-added, like shore-to-ship deliveries.”
Technology studies will focus on traffic management as well as “the overall system, guarantees, performance, safety and cost,” says Dumont. “We are flying with a couple of vehicles and in that sense, we are already there. But when you are flying with 20 or 100 vehicles at the same time along given routes then you are defining a system and that’s what we are doing with UTM.” The vehicles that Airbus plans to implement in this program will likely be similar to what has already been developed and tested by the manufacturer. Just last month, the CityAirbus made its first untethered flight in Donauwörth, Germany, and the Vahana wrapped up its flight testing Pendleton Airport in Oregon.
This memorandum of understanding between Singapore and Airbus mirrors a similar agreement between Bell, Japan Airlines and Sumitomo Corp. to explore on-demand air mobility services in Japan. The partnership was announced just days prior, and centers on the use of the recently unveiled Nexus 4EX eVTOL, which plans to address air mobility studies as well as the required infrastructure and regulatory environment.
Why it’s important: Top urban air vehicle manufacturers are beginning to seek opportunities around the globe to stand up small-scale implementations of their technologies in a realistic environment. These applications and opportunities are signaling the increased readiness of the vehicles to be tested in a realistic environment in which the services can eventually be scaled to fulfill commercial passenger transportation needs. Incremental steps in these introductory applications are the key to proving the safety of the technology and garnering the required public acceptance in order to eventually make aerial mobility widespread.
Source // Aviation Week
According to the University of California San Diego, the drone service is slated to begin in February 2020, with goals of enhancing efficacy, reliability, and predictability of delivering medical products between hospitals and laboratories. This month, UC San Diego Health will launch a pilot project to test the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to transport medical samples, supplies and documents...
According to the University of California San Diego, the drone service is slated to begin in February 2020, with goals of enhancing efficacy, reliability, and predictability of delivering medical products between hospitals and laboratories.
This month, UC San Diego Health will launch a pilot project to test the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to transport medical samples, supplies and documents between Jacobs Medical Center and Moores Cancer Center and the Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine (CALM), speeding delivery of services and patient care currently managed through ground transport.
The program is a collaboration with UPS, which received in September 2019 the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Part 135 Standard certification and authorization to use unmanned aircraft systems for a drone delivery program, and Matternet, a Mountain View, California-based drone systems developer for health care institutions. This latest effort builds upon the UPS and Matternet drone project already taking place at WakeMed Health and Hospitals, a private, non-profit health care system based in Raleigh, N.C.
“Currently, medical samples that must be transported between health care sites are carried by courier cars, which are naturally subject to the variabilities of traffic and other ground issues,” said Matthew Jenusaitis, chief administrative officer for innovation and transformation at UC San Diego Health. “With drones, we want to demonstrate proof-of-concept for getting vital samples where they need to be for testing or assessment more quickly and simply. It’s another way to leverage emerging technologies in a way that can tangibly benefit our patients.”
The project calls for medical professionals at Jacobs Medical Center, located on the east health campus of UC San Diego in La Jolla, to pack payloads, such as blood samples or documents, into a secure container that attaches to one of Matternet’s M2 rechargeable battery-powered drones.
The drones will follow predetermined, low-risk flight paths, initially between Jacobs Medical Center and special landing sites at Moores Cancer Center, located less than a mile away and within visual line of sight under the FAA’s Part 107 rules, and then subsequently at CALM, which is near the Jacobs Medical Center. The flights will take only minutes to complete and will be monitored by remote operators. The drones will carry no cameras.
“Right now, most biological samples must travel between sites by courier car, within designated hours,” said James Killeen, MD, clinical professor of emergency medicine and director of information technology services at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “That leaves the system vulnerable to the vagaries of road congestion, accidents, construction and more. Travel time can be slow and unpredictable. A drone can fly over such obstacles in a much more direct way, and take just a few minutes to cover the same distance.”
Why it’s important: In May 2018, the FAA designated the city of San Diego as one of nine lead participants in the regulators’ Integration Pilot Program. UC San Diego was also approved by the FAA to test the use of drones in transporting lab specimens and pharmaceuticals throughout its health system. This partnership reinforces the strong trajectory of UPS and other logistics companies following the company’s milestone of becoming a full Part-135 FAA-certified drone airline.
Source // UCSD News Center
Public and regulatory preparedness for aerial mobility are two of the top priorities for seamlessly integrating the rapidly developing technology in to the current global infrastructure. Following the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao shared some thoughts about how the United States—specifically, the Federal Aviation Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation— is...
Public and regulatory preparedness for aerial mobility are two of the top priorities for seamlessly integrating the rapidly developing technology in to the current global infrastructure. Following the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao shared some thoughts about how the United States—specifically, the Federal Aviation Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation— is approaching this technology. The following is an excerpt from the discussion:
“First, as with every other mode of transportation, safety is our Number One priority. UAM aircraft, and the infrastructure that supports these novel operations, will require a level of safety commensurate with the complexity of any operation that engages in passenger carriage for hire. So the commercial availability of UAM technology in the United States will depend upon companies developing robust, reliable, and technically capable designs that have been shown to be compliant with the applicable airworthiness and safety regulations.
“As you know, Urban Air Mobility vehicles are not helicopters or scaled-up drones. They are complex systems involving infrastructure, new systems and new aircraft. A segregated approach to airspace integration may work for initial, low-volume operations resembling existing helicopter corridors in large urban areas. But a long-term solution that accommodates hundreds- if not thousands- of these air vehicles operating simultaneously over urban landscapes is a complex challenge. It will involve advanced concepts in Air Traffic Management Systems and Trajectory Based Operations, to name a few.
“The Department’s FAA will be working with state and local governments and stakeholders over the next two years to define the requirements for these unique types of operations. Let me note that, consistent with this Administration’s approach to new technologies, the FAA has shifted from prescriptive rules to performance-based regulations. This approach will ensure that, as UAM technology and operations evolve, federal regulations will strengthen safety but be agile enough to grow with the technology. The Department will continue to work with industry stakeholders to identify the challenges, gaps, and opportunities associated with UAM.
“Let me add one more thought to this discussion. To be fully deployed, UAM technology must first win the public’s trust and acceptance. UAM systems will be flying directly over– and landing near– neighborhoods and workplaces. So it is imperative that the public’s legitimate concerns about safety, security, noise and privacy be addressed. I challenge the UAM industry to step up, and educate communities about the benefits of this new technology and win their trust. It is critical to ensuring that UAM technology reaches its full potential.”
Why it’s important: These vehicles have the potential to create new mobility options for millions and change how people travel to and around cities, as well as to and from rural areas. This potential has stimulated billions of dollars of investment in UAM technology, as well as first-of-its-kind roundtable discussions with urban air mobility leaders and advocates, as took place at CES 2020.
Source // U.S. Department of Transportation
At the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) show in Las Vegas in early January, Bell demonstrated a model-sized cityscape with scale flying versions of its Nexus passenger air taxi and Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) operating with Bell’s AerOS urban air mobility operating system. Calling it a “smart city ecosystem,” Bell president and CEO Mitch Snyder explained, “This year, we’re demonstrating what...
At the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) show in Las Vegas in early January, Bell demonstrated a model-sized cityscape with scale flying versions of its Nexus passenger air taxi and Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) operating with Bell’s AerOS urban air mobility operating system.
Calling it a “smart city ecosystem,” Bell president and CEO Mitch Snyder explained, “This year, we’re demonstrating what governing, operating, working, and living in a smart city will look like.”
Bell’s service is powered by Bell AerOS, a proprietary system running on Microsoft Azure created to manage fleet information, observe aircraft health, and manage throughput of goods, products and predictive data and maintenance. This digital infrastructure is prevalent in Bell’s Smart City vision at the show and serves the company’s goal of providing Mobility as a Service (MaaS).
Bell has also settled on a smaller version of its Nexus passenger vehicle, with four rotors instead of the six previously shown at CES 2019. The aircraft features Bell’s signature powered-lift concept with four tilting ducted fans that can be configured as hybrid-electric or all-electric. Bell believes this design unlocks the key for all electric technology, but the vehicle will remain “propulsion agnostic” depending on customer needs.
At CES, the smart city demo included tablet stations where visitors could interact with AerOS, choosing departure and destination, and then watching in real-time how the flying models interacted. The AerOS software constantly assesses demand across the scale-size city and deploys vehicles accordingly, while also taking into account problems that inevitably come up during passenger and cargo flying operations, such as weather events that might require all vehicles to land immediately. AerOS uses goal-seeking optimization algorithms and artificial intelligence to anticipate passenger behavior and desires as determined from the booking engine and the vehicle’s needs for battery recharging to meet the flight schedule. “We are working on modeling simulation tools now. We need to do better than have a good model, but we have tools in-process to refine and update that without an army of PhD data scientists. This solves the digital backbone need of aerial mobility.”
Why it’s important: In a world where nearly 70 percent of the population will be living in urban areas by 2050 and cities are outgrowing their current transportations systems, the need for urban mobility solutions has never been greater. Fortunately, the transportation industry has reached an inflection point, and many of the world’s top minds are working toward solutions for the optimal smart city design. Bell is bringing a clear mission of finding solutions to the infrastructure challenges of tomorrow’s transportation networks.
Sources // AINonline; Bell
On January 13, The Transportation Research Board hosted a panel discussion with senior transportation officials to talk about automation technology in the transportation space. Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) joined two deputy assistant Transportation secretaries to talk about various new technologies and the rulemaking processes governing them. The panelists discussed automated driving...
On January 13, The Transportation Research Board hosted a panel discussion with senior transportation officials to talk about automation technology in the transportation space. Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) joined two deputy assistant Transportation secretaries to talk about various new technologies and the rulemaking processes governing them. The panelists discussed automated driving systems, self-driving cars, unmanned aircraft systems, and the spectrum allocation for these new technologies.
At the gathering, Jay Merkle, the Executive Director of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office, spoke to the panel regarding the future of aerial mobility, as well as what is happening in the present day:
“As I mentioned, these are aircraft that fill that void from 30 miles to 300 miles, between the small drones and the commercial aircraft we know today. And probably the biggest question I get on this is, is this real? Are they really happening? Yes, this is more than just hype. This is more than just promotional videos. We have at least six aircraft well along in their type certification, which is the first step in introducing the new aircraft into operation. We are beginning to work on integrating them operationally, so the pilot requirements, the airline operating requirements, and then were also beginning to work on the air space integration as well.”
“The biggest lesson learned out of all of this work has not been the underlying technology, but it’s really been how do we engage the public and help them embrace these very innovative technologies?”
“To that end, we are continuing and starting to work on community engagement. This will be a particularly new challenge for us … these urban air mobility vehicles tend to be electric driven and have tremendous power requirements for recharging. There are problems that I should say, there are needs to solve certain problems, associated with getting people to and from these aircraft. The best example is they want to use space on top of existing buildings, as landing areas. And most elevators don’t go to the roof. So they will have to redesign elevators to get passengers up to those areas. And to get them up there safely, and without interrupting other activities. So this is a brief overview of all of the very exciting and innovative things that are going on in aviation today. And I think it matches well with what we’re seeing emerge in the surface transportation areas, and the other areas of research.”
Why it’s important: In order to expand the scope of current regulations and infrastructural development, the Transportation Research Board is looking to the experience and knowledge the FAA has already begun to gather regarding the emerging aerial mobility sector. Regulators are making available ample resources to aerial mobility vehicle manufacturers and operators, which has led – and will continue to lead – to the growth of the industry and increased public awareness.
Source // C-SPAN
With ten years of research and development experience, Joby Aviation has become a leader in the development of eVTOL aircraft which combine elements of helicopters and small airplanes, offering benefits that include high reliability, zero emissions, fast flight speeds and quiet operations. The company is developing an aircraft that offers lower operating costs and lower costs of maintenance, while enhancing reliability...
With ten years of research and development experience, Joby Aviation has become a leader in the development of eVTOL aircraft which combine elements of helicopters and small airplanes, offering benefits that include high reliability, zero emissions, fast flight speeds and quiet operations. The company is developing an aircraft that offers lower operating costs and lower costs of maintenance, while enhancing reliability and safety features.
Joby Aviation’s aircraft is a piloted, five-seat vehicle capable of both vertical takeoff and landing and highly efficient, wingborne forward flight. It is capable of speeds of 200 miles per hour and can fly over 150 miles on a single charge. The aircraft is 100 times quieter than conventional aircraft during takeoff and landing, and near-silent when flying overhead. The passenger experience is optimized for comfortable ride-sharing operations and efficient entry and exit.
Joby just announced that it has closed its Series C funding round with a total of $590 million in financing. Toyota demonstrated its commitment to providing “Mobility for All” by contributing $394 million of the total. In addition to Toyota’s large investment in Joby, the transforming automotive manufacturer will share its expertise in manufacturing, quality and cost controls for the development and production of Joby Aviation’s breakthrough eVTOL aircraft. Joby’s design is well matched to serve the needs of an emerging air transportation market where commuters and travelers embrace the benefits of aviation on a daily basis within and between urban centers. More details of the prototype aircraft and production plans will be announced at a later date.
Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said: “This collaboration with Toyota represents an unprecedented commitment of money and resources for us, and for this new industry, from one of the world’s leading automakers. Toyota is known globally for the quality and reliability of their products driven by meticulous attention to detail and manufacturing processes. I am excited to harness Toyota’s engineering and manufacturing prowess to drive us toward our dream of helping a billion people save an hour+ commuting time every day.”
“Air transportation has been a long-term goal for Toyota, and while we continue our work in the automobile business, this agreement sets our sights to the sky,” said Toyota President and CEO Akio Toyoda. “As we take up the challenge of air transportation together with Joby, an innovator in the emerging eVTOL space, we tap the potential to revolutionize future transportation and life. Through this new and exciting endeavor, we hope to deliver freedom of movement and enjoyment to customers everywhere, on land, and now, in the sky.”
Why it’s important: The collaboration between Joby and Toyota reflects Toyota’s recognition of the long-term potential of the urban air mobility market to meet the evolving needs of society, as well as Joby’s position as an industry leader in working to deliver safe and affordable air travel to everyone. Both companies believe that leveraging synergies with the automobile technologies as well as integrating best practices from the Toyota Production System will help facilitate the efficient mass production of these aircraft, while also helping Joby deliver high quality, durable and reliable aircraft, and meeting exacting safety standards.
Source // Joby Aviation
Bell’s new four-rotor version of its Nexus eVTOL is optimized for intra-urban mobility. The Consumer Electronics Show 2019 was a hotbed for new aerial mobility technologies, and this year is culminating in a similarly exciting event for breakthrough UAM innovations. Last year, we saw the initial unveiling of Bell’s Nexus prototype which featured six ducted fans with variable tilt angles...
Bell’s new four-rotor version of its Nexus eVTOL is optimized for intra-urban mobility.
The Consumer Electronics Show 2019 was a hotbed for new aerial mobility technologies, and this year is culminating in a similarly exciting event for breakthrough UAM innovations. Last year, we saw the initial unveiling of Bell’s Nexus prototype which featured six ducted fans with variable tilt angles to facilitate vertical takeoff and landing. The original prototype, now dubbed the Nexus 6HX due to its six hybrid-electric powered rotors, is accompanied by a fully-electric version.
Whereas the Nexus 6HX touts a range of up to 150 miles, the vehicle was originally optimized with inter-urban mobility, which necessitated the use of hybrid-electric propulsion. The specialized Nexus 4EX is instead designed specifically with up to 60-mile intra-urban flights in mind, which enabled the powerplant to be completely reliant on the latest battery technologies.
Bell CEO Mitch Snyder commented on the design choices that ultimately led to a reduced fan count and the hurdle to an all-electric powerplant:
One vehicle was compromising the attributes of each, and so we went at it in a different direction,” said Snyder. “We looked at . . . what was coming from the market and what they wanted. And we were also able to progress our technology further and understand it and say, ‘You know what? I think we can build an all-electrical [aircraft].’
Snyder also spoke about the emphasis Bell is placing on safety, and the path it plans to take to achieve EASA’s level of safety recently identified in its certification standards for small VTOL aircraft. “With this form of transportation, we want to make it safe, we want to make it quiet, [and] we want to make it clean and green,” said Snyder. “And the most important thing here, besides the safety, is we want to make it affordable, [and] accessible to everyone.”
Bell is looking to have a certified system ready to serve the public in the middle to late 2020s, with a demonstrator to “come in appropriately” between now and then. In the interim, the company plans to continue technological development in venues such as its Systems Integration Lab (SIL), as well as regulatory development by working with the FAA to level-set all aerial mobility infrastructure to a common vision.
Why it’s important: Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are coming to the realization that the demands of an eVTOLs powerplant are largely determined by the missions it is intended to serve. As the industry hones in to what the market is demanding of a new aerial mobility service, more OEMs will under an optimization of their vehicles to make best use of electric propulsion technologies where applicable.
Sources // Bell; Vertical Mag
ASR wants to be the leading provider of recovery systems for the emerging UAM market. Aviation Safety Resources (ASR) — a leading parachute safety company that won one of Revolution.Aero’s competitions earlier this year — says it has a parachute system that will work with eVTOL aircraft, even at low altitudes. Larry Williams recently spoke in an interview regarding the technology...
ASR wants to be the leading provider of recovery systems for the emerging UAM market.
Aviation Safety Resources (ASR) — a leading parachute safety company that won one of Revolution.Aero’s competitions earlier this year — says it has a parachute system that will work with eVTOL aircraft, even at low altitudes. Larry Williams recently spoke in an interview regarding the technology ASR has developed to make an already safe mode of transportation even safer.
Standard parachute recovery systems are typically rendered useless as eVTOL aircraft vertically climb to a cruise altitude, as there is no forward velocity component. The canopy is typically reliant on forward speed for proper and expedient deployment, and it is for this reason that recovery parachutes are not found on helicopters. Fixed-wing aircraft, on the other hand, will deploy the parachute in an emergency situation; it will inflate and then slow the descent to provide an acceptable touchdown condition. 500 lives have been saved worldwide to date by whole aircraft recovery systems, and are becoming more standard in the redundancy systems of many general aviation aircraft, such as the vehicles manufactured by Pipistrel and Cirrus.
The problem with conventional parachutes is that it takes time to inflate them. They need enough altitude and airspeed to serve their purpose. Even the use of rockets to quickly extract the canopy won’t inflate it in time if low to the ground. For example, the Cirrus needs to be 920 ft in the air for its canopy to fully inflate, which is not an option with an eVTOL at 500 ft taking off or landing in a populated area. If an aircraft is going 122 mph and falling at a rate of 179 ft/second, it takes 5.5 seconds to inflate. ASR worked around this limitation with an innovative patented solution that takes half a second to extract its canopy and another 2 seconds to inflate it. ASR’s recovery parachute works at 100 ft or less than in 2.5 seconds even in a VTOL operation.
ASR has also recently designed a new line of next-generation recovery products that are lighter weight with less volume that offer longer repack cycles than any similar products on the market today. The resultant technology slowed descent below 30 feet per second, providing a safe and survivable landing. It’s a passive safety system installed in the design of the UAM vehicle, similar to an airbag for automobiles.
Public perception is important for the adoption of modern electric UAM. The University of Michigan came out with a study that showed 80% of those asked said they would require a parachute when flying an eVTOL. There is also a marketing aspect to the notion of a recovery system such as a parachute. ASR has worked in the aviation safety industry for decades to help it add an extra layer of safety to already impressive electric reliability, and feels public perception is ready for parachutes.
Why it’s important: Although all eVTOL and electric fixed-wing projects put the bulk of their research on safety, the extra layer of security that ASR seeks to provide could comfort many prospective passengers and bolster the overall public perception of aerial mobility. As regulations and general acceptance continue to be the largest barrier for the implementation of commercialized urban air transportation, companies such as ASR may prove to be an asset in breaking through said barrier.
Rolls-Royce unveiled the plane at Gloucestershire Airport and hopes to break the record by Spring 2020. Work has now begun on integrating the ground-breaking electrical propulsion system to enable the zero-emissions plane to make a run for the record books with a target speed of 300+ MPH (480+ KMH). The plane is part of a Rolls-Royce initiative called ACCEL –...
Rolls-Royce unveiled the plane at Gloucestershire Airport and hopes to break the record by Spring 2020.
Work has now begun on integrating the ground-breaking electrical propulsion system to enable the zero-emissions plane to make a run for the record books with a target speed of 300+ MPH (480+ KMH). The plane is part of a Rolls-Royce initiative called ACCEL – short for “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight” and is a key part of Rolls-Royce’s strategy to champion electrification. The project involves a host of partners including electric motor and controller manufacturer YASA and the aviation start- up Electroflight. Half of the project’s funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.
Rob Watson, Director of Rolls-Royce Electrical said:
Building the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft is nothing less than a revolutionary step change in aviation and we are delighted to unveil the ACCEL project plane. This is not only an important step towards the world-record attempt but will also help to develop Rolls-Royce’s capabilities and ensure that we are at the forefront of developing technology that can play a fundamental role in enabling the transition to a low carbon global economy.
The ionBird test airframe, named after the electrical technology propelling the aircraft, was also unveiled. The ionBird will be used to test the propulsion system before it is fully integrated into the plane. Planned tests over the next couple of months include running the propulsion system up to full power as well as key airworthiness checks.
ACCEL will have the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft, providing enough energy to fuel 250 homes or fly 200 miles (London to Paris) on a single charge. Its 6,000 cells are packaged to minimise weight and maximise thermal protection. An advanced cooling system ensures optimum performance by directly cooling cells during the high-power record runs. This battery technology has potential to be applied to other high-performance aerial mobility solutions, ideal for getting in and out of urban areas in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional transportation.
Chris Harris, CEO, YASA said:
YASA’s electric motor technology is ideal for powering electric flight – the advantages we see on the road are amplified in the air where reducing size and weight for a given power and torque is even more important. We share the same passion for engineering as the team at Rolls-Royce and are delighted to partner with them on ACCEL, a project that’s ushering in a new age of sustainable, electric flight.
The ACCEL project is just one of the ways in which Rolls-Royce is developing lower carbon power. This includes partnering with Airbus on the E-Fan X technology demonstrator project, which is an important stepping stone towards hybrid electric commercial aircraft at the scale of today’s single aisle family. Rolls-Royce is also working with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia on a joint research programme on zero-emissions aviation. The programme is part of the airline´s ambition to replace and electrify its regional fleet of 30+ planes by 2030.
Why it’s important: As articulated by Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi, “the electrification of flight has the potential to revolutionise the way we travel and transform aviation for decades to come – ensuring we can travel worldwide while maintaining a low carbon footprint.” The technology can play a fundamental role in enabling the transition to a low carbon global economy, and could be adapted as an efficient solution to urban aerial mobility initiatives.
Source // Rolls-Royce
Joby is the first company to commit to Uber’s 2023 launch of its air taxi service. Rideshare group Uber and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Joby Aviation have announced a partnership to launch urban air-taxi services in selected locations from 2023. California-based Joby Aviation has become the first of seven partner companies in Uber’s Elevate urban air...
Joby is the first company to commit to Uber’s 2023 launch of its air taxi service.
Rideshare group Uber and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Joby Aviation have announced a partnership to launch urban air-taxi services in selected locations from 2023. California-based Joby Aviation has become the first of seven partner companies in Uber’s Elevate urban air mobility initiative to commit to a timetable for launching operations. The other companies are Bell, Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, Embraer, Pipistrel, Karem Aircraft, and Jaunt Air Mobility. Uber has named Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne as prospective launch cities, but the logistics of deploying its air taxi fleet remain underdeveloped.
Joby is developing a four-seat eVTOL aircraft called the S4 and appears to have plans for a larger S5 model. The covert aircraft development team has mentioned a complete full-scale prototype of the S4, but otherwise has kept plans for certification and manufacturing expansion under wraps. The few publicized renderings show a plane-drone hybrid with 12 rotors and room in the cabin for four passengers, though a spokesperson previously cautioned that what Joby is working on now is “entirely new.” The company has yet to provide any recent photographs or images of its prototype aircraft; however, all public information about Joby’s developments are can be found in the TransportUP Hangar.
Joby is the brainchild of inventor JoeBen Bevirt, who started the company in 2009. The company operated in relative obscurity until 2018, when Joby announced it had raised a surprising $100 million from a variety of investors, including the venture capital arms of Intel, Toyota, and JetBlue. The money helped finance development of the company’s air taxi prototype, which has been conducting test flights at Joby’s private airfield in Northern California.
JoeBen Bevirt had the following to say about the partnership:
We’re excited to partner with Uber. By bringing our next-generation aircraft and urban flight operations to Uber’s on-demand ground mobility network, we aim to get people to their destinations five-times faster than driving, reduce urban congestion and accelerate the shift to sustainable modes of transit.
Why it’s important: While Uber has performed considerable research and development on its own eVTOL prototype for the future air taxi service, it will ultimately rely on the consistent manufacturing technologies of a specialized airframer to provide and maintain vehicles. The demands of operating a transportation service are far greater than would allow for a single company to simultaneously develop its own aviation technologies. Therefore, Joby Aviation is slated to fill this important role, and has committed to support the aggressive timetable of a 2023 launch.
Source // AINOnline; The Verge
2019 has been a year of rapid expansion into the urban aerial mobility industry for the NBAA. The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has shown prominent support of aerial mobility technology and infrastructure throughout the year. NBAA’s support for UAM was evident at the recent Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), which featured, for the first time, an exhibit area for...
2019 has been a year of rapid expansion into the urban aerial mobility industry for the NBAA.
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has shown prominent support of aerial mobility technology and infrastructure throughout the year. NBAA’s support for UAM was evident at the recent Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), which featured, for the first time, an exhibit area for UAM aircraft, many education sessions about this emerging technology and the release of a report, co-authored by NBAA and NEXA Advisors, detailing the financial and business case for UAM.
The business aviation community continues to evolve, and NBAA is looking internally for ways to shift its focus toward UAM as the industry continues to gain traction and feasibility. As a result, the NBAA is adding to its board of directors two new members who bring backgrounds in UAM and aviation systems and aerospace. These additions are Kate Fraser, who is head of safety for California-based eVTOL developer Joby Aviation, and Charlie Precourt, a former astronaut who is v-p and general manager of propulsion systems at Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.
Before her work at Joby, Fraser led aviation policy for Uber and has worked with regulators and policymakers to pave a path for UAM. She also has served with the FAA’s Office of Accident Investigation and Prevention, collaborating with industry partners on both the Commercial Aviation Safety Team in Europe and South America and the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee.
In a press release, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen had the following to say:
NBAA is honored to have the diversity of experience and knowledge that Kate and Charlie bring to our board, which will help inform and enhance NBAA’s programs and operations. As both an aviation young professional and an urban air mobility pioneer, Kate brings fresh ideas and future vision to our organization. Charlie, as a propulsion expert and former astronaut, brings to NBAA deep aviation systems and aerospace experience.”
Also in 2019, NBAA became a founding member of the Community Air Mobility Initiative (CAMI), a new Washington-based organization dedicated to providing communities and policy makers with the information and tools that will be vital to the successful integration of UAM aircraft into daily transportation options. Other founding members of CAMI include Bell, Joby Aviation, and Karem Aircraft. CAM, CAE, NBAA senior vice president of strategy and innovation, Mike Nichols, reinforced:
NBAA is a strong proponent of UAM and eVTOL, as there’s a clear connection to this technology for business aviation – whether it’s transporting employees within or between cities, or connecting transportation centers with local businesses. We have a great infrastructure in place with our regional representatives and regional business aviation groups to advocate in support of UAM and we look forward to working with CAMI to achieve this.
Why it’s important: The NBAA is an outspoken and valuable proponent for the advancement of aerial mobility technology and infrastructural development in the upcoming decade. Recently, it applauded the Trump administration for its attention to UAM and eVTOL technology in its 2020 budget priorities. The 2020s are expected to see an expansion of UAM aircraft – both developers and operators – and the backing of the NBAA is vital to garnering public support and financial adoption.
Sources // NBAA; AINOnline
EHang stock debuted on the NASDAQ exchange this Thursday, priced at $12.50 per share. According to an official release of the IPO terms, the pricing of EHang’s initial public offering of 3,200,000 American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”) represents 6,400,000 Class A ordinary shares at a public offering price of $12.50 per ADS. In addition, EHang has granted the underwriters a 30-day...
EHang stock debuted on the NASDAQ exchange this Thursday, priced at $12.50 per share.
According to an official release of the IPO terms, the pricing of EHang’s initial public offering of 3,200,000 American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”) represents 6,400,000 Class A ordinary shares at a public offering price of $12.50 per ADS. In addition, EHang has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 480,000 ADSs at the initial public offering price. The ADSs began trading on the Nasdaq Global Market on Thursday December 12, 2019 under the symbol “EH,” opening at $12.55 and closed at $12.49. The offering is expected to close on Monday December 16, 2019, subject to customary closing conditions.
The debut price of $12.50 per share valued the IPO of Guangzhou-based EHang at $684 million, and the company has raised over $40 million incidental to its IPO. These announcements both come after the autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company announced an initial valuation of $100 million just one month ago. If underwriters were to exercise the option to purchase the additional 480,000 ADS’s at the IPO price of $12.50, that could potentially add up to $12 million to the total valuation of the company.
However, EHang has made other recent advancements in developing and testing its technology platform. Most recently EHang took the next step towards launching a pilotless air taxi route in Guangzhou, which continued the company’s progress toward its aerial mobility vision. In October, the AAV manufacturer also announced a key partnership with Vodafone, as well as a UAV Control Center at Heydar Aliyev Airport alongside Azerbaijan Airlines.
Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, is acting as the sole bookrunner for the offering, and Needham & Company, LLC, Tiger Brokers (NZ) Limited and Prime Number Capital, LLC are acting as co-managers for the offering. A registration statement relating to the ADSs being sold in this offering was declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 11, 2019. The offering is being made by means of a prospectus, copies of which may be obtained, when available, for free by visiting the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
Why it’s important: Although the valuation for EHang was lower than anticipated, the successful IPO of an aerial mobility technology company is a major step for the emerging industry. The IPO release will provide an immense opportunity for EHang to further develop and test its vehicles, as well as seek out additional business opportunities. This new influx of capital could be the necessary provision for the company to take its product commercial operation and widespread production.
Source // EHang
Volocopter is the first eVTOL startup on record to receive DOA from EASA. German electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft manufacturer Volocopter has been working closely with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) through a series of audits to prove the safety of its manufacturing process. This week, EASA awarded Volocopter with Design Organisation Approval (DOA), confirming the safe...
Volocopter is the first eVTOL startup on record to receive DOA from EASA.
German electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft manufacturer Volocopter has been working closely with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) through a series of audits to prove the safety of its manufacturing process. This week, EASA awarded Volocopter with Design Organisation Approval (DOA), confirming the safe and controlled performance of the company’s processes. “Receiving this seal of approval from EASA is testament to our rigorously professional processes, world class team, and devotion to safety here at Volocopter,” says Jan-Hendrik Boelens, CTO and Head of Design Organization of Volocopter.
As an approved Design Organisation, Volocopter has gained a competitive edge in development speed, while maintaining a guarantee of the highest safety standards. The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) has been designing and testing various models of its prototype eVTOLs in Bruchsal, Germany and successfully completed its first urban manned flight over Singapore’s Marina Bay in October of this year.
EASA is the European Union’s aviation authority and regulator, ensuring the highest level of safety protection. The regulator awards DOA to companies they have thoroughly audited with regards to their organisation, processes, resources, and staff expertise. Key aspects the agency checks before giving their seal of approval are clearly defined throughout certain processes that also need to be lived in everyday work, safety awareness, and the organisation. The audits ultimately serve to assess and decide whether a company can bring a safe aircraft to market.
By awarding a DOA, EASA entrusts a growing range of responsibilities to Volocopter as per a set of rules and processes. The key effect of having a DOA is that EASA exercises surveillance to the organization as a whole, and the involvement can be reduced to fewer steps on the way to the final commercial certification. Consequently, product development can be conducted at a faster pace by the approved organization. These privileges accompanying DOA can eventually include elements such as issuing approvals of changes or even issuing a permit to fly for its test aircraft allowing to conduct engineering and certification flight test of Volocopter’s commercial air taxi. “Design Organisation Approval is a crucial step towards receiving commercial certification and brings air taxis ever closer!” says Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter.
Earlier this year EASA also finalized and published the Special Condition VTOL, the world’s first certification baseline specifically created for air taxis, under which Volocopter is in process to get its aircraft certified. The announcement answered some of the questions surrounding the required level of certification and safety in the development process for VTOLs, especially ones intended for usage in urban air mobility.
Why it’s important: Receiving EASA DOA thus proves to be a strong competitive advantage for Volocopter within the global context, and may contribute to the company widening the gap in the race to certify the world’s first commercially applicable urban air taxi. In conjunction with EASA’s “Special Condition,” the issuance of DOA to Volocopter clarifies expectations and sets a precedent to follow as other eVTOL manufacturers submit for similar certifications.
Source // Volocopter
Amsterdam Drone Week opened this week, and urban air mobility took center stage. The second annual Amsterdam Drone Week (ADW) took place on December 4th-6th this week, and provided a global venue for exchanging knowledge and expertise on current as well as future air mobility solutions, innovations, and essential regulations. RAI Amsterdam served as the focal point for top-level players, large...
Amsterdam Drone Week opened this week, and urban air mobility took center stage.
The second annual Amsterdam Drone Week (ADW) took place on December 4th-6th this week, and provided a global venue for exchanging knowledge and expertise on current as well as future air mobility solutions, innovations, and essential regulations. RAI Amsterdam served as the focal point for top-level players, large and small, commercial and non-commercial, from various industries, knowledge institutes and authorized bodies to come together to create, innovate, and collaborate.
Philip Butterworth Hayes, the editor of Urban Air Mobility News, appropriately kicked things off: creating a vision not only of a world where drones provide an integral part of urban transportation systems – but where humans and robots establish a working relationship. “What do we want to achieve this week?” asked Hayes. “We need to achieve a closer understanding of the drone market and its potential, both in the short and long term.” If that isn’t enough of a challenge, Hayes says that Urban Air Mobility is nothing short of a revolution. UAM represents a complete change in thinking for cities. “We’re creating a new transportation ecosystem,” says Hayes. “The last time we did that was in 1945, when we started the commercial aviation industry.”
To discuss and brainstorm ideas for the new transportation ecosystem, Hayes moderated a roundtable discussion on “Reinventing Mobility” featuring key industry experts and innovators. The speakers included CMO Europe at EHang Andreas Perroti, Founder of AirMap Ben Marcus, Innovation and Deployment Director at ERTICO Dr. Johanna Tzanidaki, and Director New Business Ventures at Boeing Next John Damush. Boeing also hosted a handful of presentations on the Future of Airspace Management as well as Mobility & Sustainable Aviation.
In another address at ADW, Dr. Johanna Tzanidaki explained the “Internet of Mobility” and what that means for the future of drone transportation. ERTICO is focused on Intelligent Transport Systems, or ITS. ERTICO’s vision for mobility is a shared, digital, multi-modal and on-demand network. In practical terms, that means logging on to one system and determining the best and most convenient way to get from point A to point B: combining modes like bikes, cars, and drones as appropriate. Companies like BLADE are already providing services that combine multiple modes of transportation, and technology like that of ERTICO could be a solution that leads to further optimization.
ADW was also an opportunity for Avy to reveal its new long-endurance VTOL drone designed for lifesaving beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) missions. The vehicle, named Aera, features modular payload capabilities, integrated avionics, and redundant communications, and will be used, amongst other things, in the Medical Drone Service pilot project, launched earlier this week. The Medical Drone Service will investigate safe and reliable transport of blood products and medicines between blood banks and hospitals over the next three years. During the exhibition, Avy performed live flight demonstrations in the drone arena on each day, and displayed the Aera in the showcase area. Founder Mr Patrique Zaman also hosted a humble talk on his success thus far with Avy and the future of Urban Air Mobility.
Why it’s important: Amsterdam Drone Week is seeing growing success in its ability to rally key industry leaders, regulators, and manufacturers together for the purpose of expediting a new transportation ecosystem safely and efficiently. It’s the continual efforts of conferences and gatherings like ADW that will ultimately shape the aerial mobility industry and aid in garnering the public’s acceptance.
Sources // dronelife; Amsterdam Drone Week