(21 Sep 2021) Airbus has unveiled the design of a new aircraft for the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market.
CityAirbus NextGen, as the futuristic-looking aircraft has been called, is a fully electric vehicle equipped with fixed wings, a V-shaped tail, and eight electrically powered propellers as part of its propulsion system.
It is designed to carry up to four passengers in a zero emissions flight.
“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 NextGen is being developed to fly with an 80 km range, a cruise speed of 120 km/h, and to have sound levels below 65 dB during fly-over and below 70 dB during landing.
Airbus already has 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 1,000 km 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.”
Beyond the vehicle, Airbus is working with partners, cities, and city inhabitants in order to create the ecosystem that is essential to enabling this new operating environment to emerge in a true service to society.