The future transport in Urban Air Mobility: eVTOL aircraft
The most extended solution to Urban Aerial Mobility (UAM) is based on fuel helicopters controlled manually by an experienced pilot, which is a proven system that effectively transports people and good short to medium distance. However, there are many companies looking through the new future for urban transport, eVTOL aircraft, a new kind of technology that can help us to move faster and quieter with autonomous flight capabilities.
What is an eVTOL aircraft?
We can define eVTOL as an electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft, that is, the name that refers to its acronym. The question is, why to expend the extra effort to replace helicopters with a new system while the helicopters are still efficient? There are many reasons motivating this change in the UAM industry.
Advantages of eVTOL aircraft Vs helicopters
Below, we describe the main reasons why eVTOL aircraft, will be the transport of the future in Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in a few years.
Less noise pollution
Noise disturbance is one of the biggest obstacles that can face any aerial mobility service. OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are prioritizing noise impact reductions in eVTOL aircraft as a key to their designs, promoting a quieter transport system than helicopters.
Without a doubt, eVTOL is a lot of steps forward for vertical flight designs permitting to move from a single rotor vehicle to distributed propulsion solutions. Most of eVTOLs use Integrated disturbed electric propulsion that can employ a few rotors for vertical lift and propulsion, eVTOL developers can achieve levels of safety four times safer than helicopters. In addition, the major part of the accidents that happen with the helicopters are caused by pilot or planning errors. eVTOL systems include advanced autonomous flight control, it can reduce risks that are associated with human error.
Electric power is one of the fundamental differential factors of the eVTOL. It is cheaper and cleaner than operating gas turbines. A helicopter consumes typically 50 gallons of Jet-A per hour while electricity can cost for an eVTOL 8.2 cents per mile as it is estimated by its biggest operators. In terms of cost of the energy, with an average speed of 50 miles/hour, the cost of one hour of helicopter flight (200 USD per hour) equals to the cost needed so an eVTOL can fly over 2400 miles.
The autonomous operational system architecture
In the future what is planned for the eVTOL systems is that Urban Air Mobility operations are performed autonomously. Highly populated urban areas will have an airspace management system that will supervise the volume of air traffic. The integration of these systems with the eVTOL autonomous systems will eliminate the need for a pilot or air traffic controller in the near future.
eVTOL aircraft with Veronte Autopilot
Hexa is an eVTOL aircraft for personal transport developed by Lift Aircraft. Hexa’s eVTOL solution for Urban Air Mobility is one of the pioneer systems performing manned flights with a full electric drone system for personal transportation. The system’s highest grade of reliability and automation permits it to operate even without a pilot license.
The Core of the GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Control) in Hexa is the Veronte Autopilot 4x. It is a high-performance redundant system developed according to the DO178 &DO254 standards for onboard software and hardware. The Veronte Autopilot 4x is a proven solution for Autonomous Urban Transport that is installed in hundreds of manned and unmanned vehicles as the core of the autonomous system and used in certification processes worldwide. It helps to ensure reliability in the system. This system makes the flight safe, even in the rare case where there is a failure in one of the components.
This aircraft has been designed with a unique architecture conformed by a redundant network managing eighteen independent rotors. This architecture makes the eVTOL fail-operational and the extensive network of sensors permits early failure detection, so an automatic fail-safe is quickly activated.
At Embention we know that safety is a must in manned flights for Urban Air Mobility (UAM). And we are ready to integrate UAM systems that even in the case of a failure in the autopilot, the passenger safety will be in the first place.