The fast-emerging market for electrically-powered vertical takeoff aircraft now seems to have all the sense of urgency of a gold-rush, with dozens of start-up ventures eager to get their cutting-edge designs certified to enter service. The field also includes established aerospace industry players, including Airbus, which is advocating a somewhat more patient approach in view of the many challenges the so-called eVTOL sector faces to fulfill its potential.
Airbus’s Urban Air Mobility division is working on two designs that it hopes will prepare the way for its first eVTOL model. It does not intend either the single-seat Vahana or four-seat CityAirbus aircraft to ever enter commercial service. However, it believes that the lessons it is learning about factors such as electrical power, autonomous flight controls, and the aerodynamics of vertical takeoff and landing will be vital in ensuring the success of the design it quietly started working on in early 2019.
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