Airbus ramps up Urban Air Mobility development
Since 2014, Airbus has been exploring how electric propulsion can help drive the development of new kinds of aerial vehicles. Last year, Airbus reveleved the CityAirbus NextGen, a electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) equipped with fixed wings, a V-shaped tail, and eight electrically powered propellers. The vehicle has multiple applications and is designed to carry up to four passengers.
For Airbus, developing a Urban Air Mobility (UAM) solution with eVTOLs serves not only to offer a new product or service, but as an important step in its quest to reduce emissions in aviation and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
With development on the CityAirbus NextGen prototype quickly ramping up, Airbus recently announced the selection of MAGicALL to supply the motor, which will be equipped with a tailored version of the MAGiDRIVE, the newest generation of electric motors manufactured by MAGicALL.
The detailed customisation of CityAirbus NextGen’s electric propulsion system will enable the prototype to benefit from features that will match its unique design, providing for increased performance and reliability. Additionally, electric motors will add to its seamless architecture, thanks to a fully integrated solution comprising both the motor itself and its control system, as part of a fully enclosed, air-cooled propulsion unit.
NextGen’s wings will be designed in collaboration with Spirit AeroSystems, a partnership that will support Airbus’ exploration of disruptive aircraft design while complying with the most stringent regulations. The ambition is to achieve a minimum weight solution while ensuring the highest levels of safety. The structural concept behind the eVTOL’s fixed wings transmit the related aerodynamic loads while being optimized for the right balance between hover and cruise efficiency. CityAirbus NextGen’s distributed propulsion system will contribute to reducing the influence of air turbulence.
The development of advanced air mobility is not a task Airbus can do alone. Leading companies, universities, research institutions as well as municipalities are joining forces under the leadership of Airbus to form the Air Mobility Initiative (AMI) in Germany. These alliances aim to set up a series of research projects oriented towards making urban air mobility within and between cities a reality. The joint projects are centered around three main areas: eVTOL aircraft, unmanned traffic management (UTM) services, and airport/city integration through the use of vertiports.
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