Odys Aviation, a California-based aerial mobility startup, has raised $12.4 million USD in its seed funding round to help develop its hybrid-propulsion eVTOL aircraft.

Founded in 2019 as Craft Aerospace, Odys Aviation is creating an eVTOL that would hold 9 passengers and 2 pilots, reach speeds of 345 mph, reach altitudes of 30,000 feet, and have a total range of up to 1,000 miles. Especially notable is the eVTOL aircraft’s unique design — it uses a VTOL method called a “blown wing” or “deflected slipstream,” which redirects the flow of air from its rotors using flaps rather than by turning them.

Photograph: Odys Aviation, formerly known as Craft Aerospace

“Odys Aviation is building an aircraft that reduces CO2 by up to 80% while eliminating travel pain. Beyond and distinct from air taxis, our range covers 65% of domestic flights, and we’re proud to be getting so much traction with airlines so soon after inception,” says James Dorris, co-founder and CEO of Odys Aviation.

The eVTOL aircraft, yet unnamed, would most likely be seen in regional/domestic flight applications. According to the company, its design, combined with the use of helipads, municipal airports and future “vertiports” will make “door-to-door regional travel simpler, faster, cheaper and greener.” Currently Odys is in collaboration with Mojave Air and Space Port, and is looking to expand its partner network. “Integration at smaller airports is already very practical,” said co-founder and CEO James Dorris. “We have collaborated with two vertiport developers to ensure our aircraft can practically land at their facilities, and we’re also in discussion with one of the U.S.’s largest airports to assess airspace integration issues.”

During vertical takeoff (left), thrust is redirected downward by extending flaps. While in forward flight (right), the flaps retract and thrust pushes the plane forward as in a traditional airplane. Photograph: Odys Aviation

While still in sub-scale prototype testing, the recent increase in funds has kept Odys on track to begin full-scale test flights soon.  “We will fly the next scale prototype (effectively a one-seater) later this year. The first full-scale prototype flight tests are still scheduled for late 2023,” said Dorris. The funding comes from Giant Ventures, Soma Capital, Countdown Capital, Nikhil Goel and Kyle Vogt. In addition to the demonstration of its 1-seater prototype, the funds will go towards a new production facility and expansion of Odys’ leadership and engineering teams. 

Why it’s important: According to Odys co-founder James Dorris, Odys’  fast, stable VTOL craft will help unlock a new kind of regional air travel, rejecting larger airports for minor ones or even heliports. The goal of Odys is to reduce the time spent before and after transit, such as during security checks, travel to the correct gate, air traffic control delays, and the commute to and from larger airports. “Traveling shouldn’t be a painful experience, and it certainly shouldn’t be taking a toll on our environment and communities”, says Dorris.

While Odys doesn’t have the only regional hybrid eVTOL aircraft (others include the Zuri eVTOL and the Transcend Air Vy400), its unique “blown wind” design propulsion design may make it a key player in this market. With the creation of multiple kinds of long-range hybrid eVTOLs in progress, we can expect to see a fair level of healthy competition emerge among these market players, suggesting a robust industry for these new kinds of aircraft.

Source // Tech Crunch


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