SkyDrive announced on June 21st that as part of continuing their mission of “taking the lead in the once-in-a-century mobility revolution,” they’ve selected to partner with Thales for the necessary flight control systems on the SkyDrive eVTOL.
Flight control systems are one of the key elements of eVTOL aircraft that will function in new and novel ways to accommodate the combination of accelerated forward flight and hover flight. The fly-by-wire system is a critical element of flight safety, responsible for calculating and adjusting the position of the aircraft’s control surfaces and managing engine thrust.
Thales pioneered Fly-by-wire solutions in the 1980s with the first installation on Airbus A310. Since then, more than 12,000 aircraft have been equipped with Thales solutions. Today, Thales FlytRise materializes a new generation of flight controls, offering SkyDrive the combined benefits of proven experience and adaptation to eVTOL requirements, in particular lightness, compactness, and readiness for autonomous operations.
SkyDrive promotes its eVTOL as an aircraft that supports the democratization of the benefits of aviation, where everyone has access to eVTOL as their daily transportation. SkyDrive has been selected to participate in Advanced Air Mobility “Smart Mobility Expo” Project at Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan and the company aims to fly its SkyDrive eVTOL aircraft at the Expo. Designed to be flown with one pilot and two passengers on board for intra-city flights, the SkyDrive requires flight control solutions securing safe flights above populated areas.
Arnaud Coville, SkyDrive Inc’s. Chief Development Officer, states: “We are very pleased to have Thales as our partner in the field of flight control for our eVTOL aircraft the ‘SKYDRIVE’. Thales’s flight controls have long been trusted in the aviation industry. As an eVTOL manufacturer, SkyDrive values safety above all, and we believe that partnering with Thales in flight control, which is a key safety-related technology, will enable us to achieve the safety objectives of our aircraft.”
Why it’s important: SkyDrive’s partnership with Thales will leverage the expertise of an established flight control system developer and help to accelerate SkyDrive’s work on their path to certification of their SkyDrive eVTOL aircraft. It’s unknown what specific architecture Thales will select for the SkyDrive eVTOL at this time; especially with requirements for safety and redundancy during autonomy, requirements for robust failsafe modes and intelligent flight control hardware and software design will be paramount.