eVTOL newcomer, Autoflight, has announced it has completed the first flight of its V1500M four-passenger aircraft. Autoflight was founded five years ago as a spinoff from the consumer drone manufacturer Yuneec, started by Tian Yu. The Shanghai-based company unveiled this latest model in September at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai.
“The V1500M is a milestone — not only for AutoFlight but also for the global development of the urban air mobility,” AutoFlight founder and CEO Tian Yu stated in a press release. “Our company is committed to developing safe and reliable passenger eVTOL aircraft and helping to create a better mobility future.”
The V1500 is a fully-electric eVTOL aerial vehicle that can transport up to four passengers and luggage (up to 3,307 lbs) either autonomously or piloted. The carbon fiber fuselage carries ten electric motors and ten propellers that are located above the cabin.
For forward flight, the eVTOL aircraft utilizes its two rear pusher propellers and a fixed-wing, delivering a cruise speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) and a range of 250 km (155 miles).
Following an extensive series of flight tests, Autoflight hopes to obtain its airworthiness certificate and pursue commercial availability by 2024.
The company also boasts 2 other eVTOL models, including the V50 White Shark which is currently in commercial production. This year, Autoflight has completed a successful Series A round of funding in which it topped $100M USD.
Why it matters: China, having both the largest population and greatest population density of any country, has perhaps the greatest opportunity to benefit from aerial mobility. With the successful launch of Autoflight, the V1500M promises to be a serious competitor to other manufacturers in the country like EHang and XPeng HT Aero. With $100M USD in series A funding, Autoflight should have a solid start on completing its flight test campaign and achieving certification.