- CityAirbus is the new eVTOL being developed by Airbus’ helicopter division that aims to set the stage for a new era of intra-city travel with flying taxis.
- The futuristic-looking demonstrator can carry four passengers with a range of 60 miles, travelling at 75 miles per hour.
- Airbus demonstrated the eVTOL in public for the first time on July 20 during a visit by a German politician to the facility in Bavaria.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Airbus’ new eVTOL just took to the skies for the first time in public during a demonstration flight for a German politician.
CityAirbus, as the electric aircraft is called, is part of Airbus’ vision for “flying taxi” aircraft and currently being developed by the manufacturer’s helicopter division. The remotely piloted aircraft first flew independently in December, according to Aviation Today, but the July 20 demonstration flight for Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder saw CityAirborne go airborne for the first time in front of public officials and the media, eVTOL.com reported.
Europe’s leading aircraft manufacturer is among those investing in eVTOLs as a way to advance urban air mobility, a field traditionally dominated by noisy and expensive helicopters. The past few years have seen Airbus been collecting data on the new field, in part, through its Silicon Valley incubator, Acubed, which helped develop Airbus’ now-defunct on-demand helicopter start-up Voom and single-pilot eVTOL demonstrator project Vahana.
Now, the new eVTOL aims to set the stage for a new era of flying vehicles.
Take a look at CityAirbus.
Airbus began developing CityAirbus as a demonstrator eVTOL in 2016 with aims to create a fleet of flying taxi aircraft that can fly above traffic.
Source: Business Insider
It’s being developed by Airbus Helicopters and the resemblance to its existing product line shows.
Here’s a traditional Airbus H135 helicopter, which has strong design similarities to the eVTOL.
But flying taxis like CityAirbus won’t be replacing the helicopters that Airbus creates as the eVTOL is only capable of short hops within cities, not between them.
This electric aircraft can fly for around 15 minutes with a projected range of around 60 miles.
In a futuristic design straight out of science fiction, four ducted propulsion units will power the aircraft with two on each side and eight motors and eight propellers in total.
Eight Siemens SP200D motors offer a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour, or around 75 miles per hour, it’s only slightly faster than the average car travelling at highway speeds.
The advantage, though, comes from more direct routings and flying above roadway congestion.
Going beyond its limited range would incur a lengthy recharge, which can take up to an hour until battery technology advances and can bring charge times down.
CityAirbus is “single failure tolerant,” meaning it can still land normally after losing one of its propellers.
As eVTOLs are new technology, safety features like single failure tolerance will be key for consumer confidence.
The main airframe, created from a mix of metal and composites, will house four passengers with no need for a cockpit.
Though the hope is for Airbus’ eVTOLs to fly completely autonomously in the future, initial plans call for CityAirbus to be a remotely-piloted aircraft.
Airbus has been among those leading the charge in autonomous flight, namely with its self-flying A350-1000 XWB, so an autonomous eVTOL isn’t far off.
CityAirbus’ first flight occurred in 2019 with the past eight months seeing new developments such as untethered flight and its first public demonstration.
July saw CityAirbus perform for the first time in public with media and Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder in attendance.
The eVTOL, registered as D-HCIA, didn’t leave the Airbus facility on either occasion but the flights are important milestones on the way to certification.