India To Deploy E-VTOL Aircraft In The Near Future, Says Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia
Electric Vehicles Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) are a new class of clean, quiet, cheap air mobility solutions that promise to fundamentally transform urban mobility in the coming decades.
India will see the deployment of Electric Vehicles Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft in near future, said Jyotiraditya Scindia, Union Minister for Civil Aviation on Saturday (21 May).
Speaking at India@2047, as part of the seventh edition of India Ideas Conclave, organised by India Foundation in Bengaluru, Scindia narrated his experience of being exposed to the new reality in civil aviation - the concept of the eVTOLs.
“Today, the trial is happening with the US Air Force and the Canadian Air Force with eVTOLs. As soon as they get Federal Aviation Administration (FAA-US) and other certifications, we are going to try and ensure that they come and set up their manufacturing bases here,” the Union Minister said.
"We are already in conversations with a number of eVTOL technology producers in the U.S. and Canada. To start with, newer aviation technologies are being adopted by the Army and the Air Force. Once they become proofs of concept... that is when they permeate into the civil space,’‘ he said.
“eVTOLs, that’s the picture I look at when I think of infrastructure in the year 2047 as far as mobility in the country is concerned,’‘ the Minister added.
Since EHang, an autonomous aerial vehicle company from China unveiled what it claimed to be the very first drone capable of flying a person at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2016, there’s been a huge interest in air taxis, flying cars, and eVTOL aircraft.
Air taxis, flying cars and eVTOLs are just a number of the popular names currently being used to refer to unmanned vehicles which are being designed to carry humans in the future and are collectively labeled as passenger drones.
Air taxis highlight a specific purpose of a passenger drone: their commercial use to transport passengers in city centers to avoid traffic. Flying cars is an aircraft which is able to double up as a road-legal car. Due to the major technological and certification hurdles that such a platform must overcome, these designs are thus far very few in number and even those that do exist are all piloted for now.
Finally, an eVTOL passenger drone represents the group of drones, which are electrically powered and have vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. The term eVTOL describes not just a certain ability of the platform but also that in order to reduce its ecological footprint in urban areas the eVTOL draws its power directly from an energy storage (battery).
eVTOLs are a new class of clean, quiet, cheap air mobility solutions that promise to fundamentally transform urban mobility in the coming decades.
More than 150 companies are in the process of developing prototypes in a fierce competition between startups, including Kitty Hawk (US), Lilium (Germany), Joby Aviation (US), E-Hang (China), Volocopter (Germany), as well as large firms like Airbus, Boeing (US), Bell (US), Embraer (Brazil), and Uber (US).
Additionally, the Big Four technology companies, Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook (US) known for the disruption of well-established industries through technological innovation are moving into the eVTOL aircraft endeavors, placing vast venture capital and highly-talented human capital into these efforts.
Venture capitalists have invested more than one billion dollars into promising eVTOL aircraft startups. Well-known CEOs, billionaires, and politicians are leveraging personal credibility supporting eVTOL projects. For example, Airbus recently pledged some $150 million of associated R&D.
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