Success of the urban air mobility idea lies in aerial vehicles. They need to be reliable and secure to enable the safe transportation in city areas. UAM companies utilize modern technologies to achieve this goal. From VTOL aircraft to commercial drones capable of carrying passengers – the UAM industry is full of amazing vehicles.
Recently we talked about futuristic drone technologies used by UAM companies. Today we look on very specific types of vehicles which has contributed to the development of modern air transportation in cities.
VTOL aircraft – helicopters of tomorrow
The idea of urban air mobility is often associated with the concept of the VTOL vehicle. It is an abbreviation for “vertical take-off and landing”. The term may seem complicated at first. However, the very first implementation of the VTOL idea, the helicopter, has been with us for nearly a century. VTOL vehicles bear some significant advantages over other modes of an aerial transport.
Unlike airplanes, they don’t need a large runway area to take-off or land, which is invaluable in the urban environment. However, today’s implementations of this solution have some flaws. Modern helicopters are noisy, and they need a trained pilot to fly. For decades, the aviation industry has been working on innovative ideas of vertical take-off and landing vehicles. The most promising one is electronic VTOL. It aims to utilize modern technologies to provide safe and secure air transportation.
Influence of commercial drones
Urban air mobility can learn a lot from modern commercial drones. Constructional solutions used in this industry are important guidelines to the development of UAM travels. Some types of commercial drones such as quadcopter can be successfully modified to work as a mode of transportation suitable for carrying passengers.
UAM also draws from the software solutions of modern commercial drones. Usually, they are unmanned aerial vehicles, capable of running even without a human operator. Such a high level of autonomy might be necessary to create a sustainable and secure network of UAM vehicles. It will eliminate the possibility of human mistake, which consequences would be catastrophic in the urban area.
Personal air vehicle prototypes
All breakthroughs made in the field of VTOL vehicles or commercial drones have boosted the UAM industry. It led us to the development of modern prototypes constructed by urban air mobility developers. Companies such as Airbus or Uber proposed their own ideas of a personal air vehicle. In those amazing concepts, they utilize the solutions of both the aviation industry and the drone market.
For example, CityAirbus is a functional prototype of an electric VTOL vehicle. From the technical side, it is a quadcopter similar to modern commercial drones. However, it is fully capable of carrying up to four passengers. The development of this aircraft would not have happened without technological achievements of its predecessors.
Every new personal air vehicle prototype brings us closer to the widely available urban air mobility service. We still need to overcome some disadvantages to achieve this goal. But thanks to the inspiring achievements in the field of aviation technology, the dream of flying cars may soon come true.
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