Airbus plans to create a new CityAirbus for the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market. It will be designed to carry up to four passengers in zero-emissions flight in multiple applications.
The fully electric vehicle is equipped with fixed wings, a V-shaped tail, and eight electrically powered propellers as part of its uniquely designed distributed propulsion system.
“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,” said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “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 is being developed to fly with an 80km range and to reach a cruise speed of 120km/h, making it suited for operations in major cities for a variety of missions.
Sound levels are a key factor for an urban mission; Airbus’ said its extensive expertise in noise-friendly designs is driving CityAirbus’ sound levels below 65dB(A) during fly-over and below 70dB(A) during landing. It is optimised for hover and cruise efficiency, while not requiring moving surfaces or tilting parts during transition. The CityAirbus NextGen meets the highest certification standards (EASA SC-VTOL Enhanced Category).
Airbus said it was benefitting from years of dedicated research, innovation, two electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) demonstrators, and development on sound technology across its portfolio of products, as well as decades of experience in certifying aircraft. The Vahana and CityAirbus demonstrators have jointly conducted 242 flight and ground tests and have flown around 1,000km in total. Furthermore, Airbus has used extensive subscale flight testing and wind tunnel campaigns and has leveraged its computing and modelling power. CityAirbus NextGen is in a detailed design phase right now and the prototype’s first flight is planned for 2023.
“We have learned a lot from the test campaigns with our two demonstrators, CityAirbus and Vahana,” said Even. “The CityAirbus NextGen combines the best from both worlds with the new architecture striking the right balance between hover and forward flight. The prototype is paving the way for certification expected around 2025.”
Image: Airbus Helicopters/Productions Autrement Dit