Airbus unveils modified flying taxi designed to fly quietly over urban areas

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Airbus has unveiled its latest modified design for a fully electric four-seater “flying taxi” with fixed wings, a V-shaped tail and eight electric propellers for quieter flights over cities as part of its campaign to sustainable urban air mobility.

The European aerospace giant aims to fly a prototype of its CityAirbus NextGen in 2023 and aims for certification by 2025, Airbus said.

“We are looking to co-create an entirely new market that integrates urban air mobility in cities on a sustainable basis while responding to environmental and social concerns,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “Airbus believes that the real challenges are as much urban integration, public acceptance and automated air traffic management as vehicle technology and business models.”

Electric air taxis are emerging as a new segment of the aviation industry as early versions of their designs near maturity and their developers seek to raise funds through specialist acquisition companies. (Spacs). Start-ups compete to develop, certify and manufacture electric planes as part of efforts to revolutionize short-haul travel. The push for electric flying taxis, especially in urban areas, comes as governments seek to cut carbon emissions to fight climate change.

The CityAirbus demonstrator, designed to carry up to four passengers in a zero-emission flight, is currently in the detailed design phase, said the Toulouse company.

CityAirbus is developed to fly with a range of 80 kilometers and reach a cruising speed of 120 km / h, which makes it suitable for operations in large cities for a variety of uses, the company said.

Noise reduction is a major feature of the flying taxi designed for urban travel. The airplane has sound levels of less than 65 dB (A), a unit of sound measurement, during overflight and less than 70 dB (A) during landing.

“Designed with simplicity in mind, CityAirbus NextGen will offer the best economic performance in terms of operation and support,” said Airbus.

The vehicle meets the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) enhanced SC-VTOL category certification standards, Airbus added.

The latest version, which focuses on the advancement of Electric Remotely Piloted Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL), looks like a traditional aircraft rather than the drone-style model of the original project.

The full-scale CityAirbus demonstrator made its first take-off in May 2019.

Over the years, Airbus has developed two demonstrators (eVTOL), the Vahana and the CityAirbus. Together, the two demonstrators performed 242 flight and ground tests and traveled approximately 1,000 km in total.

“We have learned a lot from the test campaigns with our two demonstrators CityAirbus and Vahana,” said Mr. Even. “The CityAirbus NextGen combines the best of both worlds with the new architecture that strikes the right balance between hovering and forward flight.”

The latest zero-emission eVTOL aircraft was unveiled at the company’s first Airbus summit on “Pioneering Sustainable Aerospace” on September 21.

The battery-powered aircraft is remotely piloted with advanced control systems, is quieter than traditional helicopters, is up to three times faster than cars and is fully electric for emissions-free flights, according to Airbus.

Governments and oil majors must reorient their efforts and investments to support sustainable aviation fuels as the airline industry prepares to meet its environmental goals, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said in July.

Updated: September 25, 2021, 13:38


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