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Airbus Eyes Urban Air Mobility With Next-Generation eVTOL

The electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) market has just taken a significant turn. With this industry yet to fully take off, Airbus proudly announced a new all-electric multicopter at its facilities in Toulouse today.

eVTOL is expected revitalize urban air travel and Airbus wants a slice of the pie with CityAirbus NextGen. Photo: Airbus

major player

Airbus previously launched CityAirbus, a demonstrator that concentrates on progressing remotely piloted eVTOLs. On May 3rd, 2019, the CityAirbus conducted its first unmanned flight in a massive step forward for the program. Now, just over two years later, Airbus has announced a new version of the eVTOL.

Simple Flying was in attendance when the company shared details of the new vehicle. The announcement was made at the Airbus Summit, and Pioneering Sustainable Aerospace was the theme of the event.

Altogether, with a core focus on reducing emissions and operating sustainably, it’s not a surprise that Airbus is keen to scale up its efforts in the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market. There have been plenty of firms putting their name in the hat to be a leader in this next generation of travel. With Airbus being a powerhouse across the aviation spectrum, we can expect that it will hold a strong presence in this field.

The next level

Airbus already experimented with the initial CityAirbus and even its Vahana, which conducted its first flight on January 31st, 2019. However, the company has adapted its VTOL requirements over the years to introduce CityAirbus NextGen.

The next-generation design is far sleeker than the predecessor’s build (pictured). Photo: Sumit Singh | Simple FlyingThe program’s leadership explained that with the technology involved still developing and the industry still in its infancy, it’s logical to adjust at an early stage. The project will evolve as the tech matures. Airbus added it has learned important lessons from the test campaigns with the two existing demonstrators. Subsequently, CityAirbus NextGen brings the best of both worlds with a new twist.

“We are on a quest to co-create an entirely new market that sustainably integrates urban air mobility into the cities while addressing environmental and social concerns,” Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even stated.

“Airbus is convinced that the real challenges are as much about urban integration, public acceptance, and automated air traffic management, as about vehicle technology and business models. We build on all of the capabilities to deliver a safe, sustainable, and fully integrated service to society.”

CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL
Fitted with a V-shaped tail and fixed wings, the eight propellor-CityAirbus NextGen will bring sound levels lower than 65 dB(A) during fly-over and under 70 dB(A) when landing. Photo: AirbusStay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Looking ahead

There are high hopes for the prototype. The vehicle is currently being designed and its first flight is targeted for 2023. Additionally, certification is expected to take place in approximately four years.

Designed to transport four passengers with zero emissions, CityAirbus NextGen is set to connect the public to their destinations within a range of up to 80 km (43 NM) and will reach a cruise speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).

It’s not only city slickers in large metropolises that are expected to benefit from the program. Airbus noted that it hopes to help the likes of emergency service providers access hard-to-reach areas with the aircraft.

Airlines around the world will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on the project. There are plenty of future operators of this sort of aircraft. For instance, Azul recently shared that it wants to operate 220 eVTOLs around Brazil.

Overall, Airbus wants to “make the dream of personal flight a reality.” Additionally, the aviation industry has committed itself to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. With these two ambitions in mind, the CityAirbus NextGen could provide the perfect balance for Airbus in the UAM scene.

What are your thoughts about CityAirbus NextGen? What do you make of Airbus’ efforts in the eVOTL field? Let us know what you think in the comment section.