Repainting the Mobility Picture

The effect of innovation, convenience and advancement is at heart of the aerospace industry, from supersonic to electrical engines, many new mobility prototypes, and concepts are expected to take over at the Paris Air Show

Issue: 6 / 2019By Ayushee ChaudharyPhoto(s): By Embraer
Embraer X: eVTOL for the future urban mobility

With the technical advancements in the mobility sector especially aerospace touching the sky quite literally, the day does not seem far when the sky over our heads gets painted with more than just birds and distant aero planes flying over the clouds. However, there are many challenges that still lie in the way but that has not hindered multiple companies from conceptualizing the many possibilities. With designing, building and delivering getting more and more complex, many OEMs and suppliers in the aerospace as well as the defence industry are transforming the way they function and tapping into further innovation and efficiency to cater to the growing needs.

While most manufacturers have not yet revealed their exact plan and surprises await the visitors at the Paris Air Show (PAS), we look at what concepts or prototypes could make your way at the upcoming air show.

CITYAIRBUS

Having demonstrated the CityAirbus for the first time to public at Ingolstadt, Germany in March 2019, the European multinational aerospace corporation, Airbus announced that the first flight of the multi-passenger, autonomously piloted electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle designed for urban air mobility (UAM) will soon be coming along. Early this year, Airbus Helicopter completed ground testing for the UAM technology demonstrator which is a part of an Airbus strategy to explore the potential of UAM in the fields of connectivity, artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, and electric propulsion. A proof of concept ready for commercial operation is scheduled for 2020 but the visitors will be hopeful to catch a glimpse of the demonstrator in the upcoming PAS.

BOEING’S AUTONOMOUS PASSENGER AIR VEHICLE (PAV)

In January 2019, the American multinational aerospace company Boeing notified the successful testing of its PAV along with Aurora Flight Sciences. Claiming its progress towards a safe and sustainable urban mobility ecosystem, Boeing’s PA V prototype completed a controlled takeoff, hover and landing during its first flight test. In addition to this, the Boeing Next portfolio includes an unmanned fully electric cargo air vehicle (CAV) designed to transport up to 225 kg. The CAV completed its first indoor flight last year and its first outdoor flight testing early this year. Powered by an electric propulsion system, the CAV opens up new possibilities for safely and efficiently transporting goods in a variety of industries. As Boeing continues to advance the development of the CAV with flight testing focused on forward flight, loads analysis and vehicle performance, there is a hope that PAS will be a required stage to display the prototype and may be do some load analysis there itself.

ODYSSEUS

Aurora Flight Sciences’ Odysseus, described as a High-Altitude Pseudo-satellite with a wingspan of 243 feet was scheduled to take its first flight in spring 2019. At such time, PAS seems to be the ideal set up for letting the visitors as well as the prospective buyers know about its benefits. Odysseus is said to have the biggest payload capacity available in persistent solar aviation “55 pounds or more,” along with the capacity to supply 250 watts power to the payload. Odysseus is a highly capable, solar-powered, autonomous aircraft ready to deliver your mission from the stratosphere. Aurora Flight Sciences is an American aviation and aeronautics research subsidiary of Boeing which primarily specializes in the design and construction of special-purpose unmanned aerial vehicles.

EMBRAER X

In May 2018, Embraer X revealed its first eVTOL concept as a response to Uber’s call for the development for its uberAIR solution. One year down the line, the timing of the PAS seems a golden opportunity for Embraer to come up with its prototype and tap into what’s not been done with the prospective buyers.

BOOM SUPERSONIC

It has been over 15 years since Concorde took over the skies flying faster than the speed of sound. Concorde was the French-British turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner that operated from 1976-2003. Even though doubts remain, attempts to bring supersonic transport back for commercial use continue. Early this year, the Colorado based Boom Supersonic reportedly closed a huge investment to support the development of its mach 2.2 airliner, Overture. Boom is hopeful that it’s supersonic demonstrator plane, the XB-1, will break the sound barrier in 2019 for the first time and will reach Mach 2.2 shortly thereafter in subsequent testing. The first flight of the supersonic is scheduled for 2023 and hence PAS is again a good chance for Boom to showcase its plans.

LOCKHEED MARTIN

While the global aerospace and defense company, Lockheed Martin pulled out its involvement with the startup, Aerion which is developing a supersonic airliner, it still seems optimistic on the prospect of high-speed air travel. Through its involvement in developing NASA’s X-59, an aircraft intended to reduce the noise of a sonic boom to about the sound of a car door closing, Lockheed Martin says it remains enthusiastic about supersonic commercial travel as it got selected to design, build and flight test the experimental aircraft and this enthusiasm might be put to display at the upcoming air show.