Advancing Urban Air Mobility

Advancing Urban Air Mobility  The CityAirbus NextGen, an innovative eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft developed by Airbus, represents a significant leap forward in urban air mobility (UAM). As cities worldwide grapple with increasing traffic congestion and seek sustainable transportation solutions, the advent of UAM offers a promising alternative. The CityAirbus NextGen, with its recent assembly completion, is at the forefront of this transformation, promising to revolutionize urban transportation by offering a clean, efficient, and convenient mode of air travel.

Advancing Urban Air Mobility However, the successful integration of eVTOLs into urban environments extends beyond the aircraft itself. It necessitates the development of a comprehensive ecosystem encompassing dedicated infrastructure, public acceptance, regulatory frameworks for lower airspace, and efficient takeoff and landing sites. In pursuit of these objectives, Airbus has partnered with Hiratagakuen, a prominent helicopter operator in Japan, to explore the multi-mission capabilities of CityAirbus NextGen in the Kansai region.

Phase 1: Simulation and Evaluation

Advancing Urban Air Mobility The initial phase of this partnership, spanning from mid-2022 to March 2023, focused on simulating CityAirbus NextGen’s operations using an H135 helicopter. This phase aimed to test advanced navigation and communication technologies essential for the safe operation of eVTOLs within urban settings. By modifying the H135’s flight conditions to mimic those of CityAirbus NextGen, the partners evaluated the feasibility of ecotourism and passenger transport missions across three distinct flight routes in the Osaka and Kansai regions.

Advancing Urban Air Mobility
Advancing Urban Air Mobility

Advancing Urban Air Mobility The simulations yielded promising results, demonstrating that the chosen routes are viable for eVTOL operations and that satellite signals remain effective in urban environments. This phase was crucial for airspace management, allowing Airbus and Hiratagakuen to identify necessary flight corridors and assess the location of ground infrastructure, including vertiports, to optimize passenger journeys.

Phase 2: Exploring Air Medical Use

Advancing Urban Air Mobility Building on the success of the initial phase, the partnership has embarked on a second phase, focusing on the potential air medical use of CityAirbus NextGen. This phase explores eVTOLs’ capabilities in supporting medical logistics, such as transporting blood between supply centres and hospitals in urban and mountainous areas. The involvement of the Japan Weather Association is key to this project, providing high-precision weather data to identify optimal routes over challenging terrains.

Advancing Urban Air Mobility The winter season, characterized by adverse weather conditions, presents a unique opportunity to assess the reliability and efficiency of eVTOLs in supporting medical logistics when traditional transport methods face limitations. This phase aims to integrate eVTOLs into the air medical ecosystem effectively, leveraging aerial and ground assets to enhance service delivery in critical medical scenarios.


Advancing Urban Air Mobility The collaborative efforts between Airbus and Hiratagakuen mark a significant advancement in the development and operationalization of urban air mobility services. By systematically addressing the challenges and potential of eVTOLs through simulation and real-world testing, the partnership paves the way for a future where air mobility can seamlessly integrate into our daily lives, offering sustainable, efficient, and innovative transportation solutions. As the CityAirbus NextGen prepares for its maiden flight, the vision of transforming urban transportation moves closer to reality, promising a new era of mobility that is both exciting and within reach.

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