By Gerrard Cowan

Gerrard Cowan is a freelance journalist who specializes in finance and defense. Follow him on Twitter @gerrardcowan

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Urban Aeronautics study analyzes eVTOL operations in EMS response

eVTOL ambulances could slash emergency medical services (EMS) response times and boost positive outcomes in more than half of cardiac arrest cases, according to a new study involving Urban Aeronautics’ CityHawk vehicle.

Urban Aeronautics CityHawk EMS
Urban Aeronautics is working with Services d’Aide Médicale Urgente (SAMU) to examine applications for its CityHawk eVTOL aircraft in emergency medical services. Urban Aeronautics Image

The study focuses on Paris, France, with a full report due in the summer. Urban Aeronautics is working on the research with Services d’Aide Médicale Urgente (SAMU), which oversees EMS services in France, said Haran Ben-Eliahou, vice president of marketing and business development at the Israel-based eVTOL company.

Urban Aeronautics is working with Dr. Matthieu Heidet of Henri-Mondor University Hospital on the study, which involves research of cardiac arrests in Paris over a certain period, analyzing the locations to consider how an eVTOL like CityHawk could land in the area in question and save time. While it focused on cardiac arrests, the research is also applicable in other areas of critical treatment, such as accidents, Ben-Eliahou said.

He said Urban Aeronautics has long had an interest in EMS, and noted that there are around 3,500 cardiac arrests in the Paris metropolitan area every year. However, research showed if an EMS vehicle reached a person just one minute earlier, the likelihood of the person recovering increases by 10%, Ben-Eliahou said.

Researchers are currently continuing this study, and Ben-Eliahou said they’re considering conducting a simulation “to make this a more realistic study. Of course, this work will grow as we further develop our [CityHawk] vehicle.”

Urban Aeronautics was established in 2003, but over the past year, the eVTOL developer has focused its work on the urban air mobility market. The company’s leaders have narrowed their focus on air taxis and EMS, which Ben-Eliahou described as “the two places where we think we bring the most value.” This is due to the aircraft’s Fancraft enclosed rotor technology, which the company said increases the safety of the vehicle in urban environments, allowing emergency service personnel or members of the public to walk around it safely.

The CityHawk, as well as eVTOLs in general, hold strong potential for EMS, Ben-Eliahou said, because “their integration into the city is almost seamless.” If such aircraft could fulfill even 5% of metropolitan EMS calls in the future, “we could save a lot of lives,” he said.

More broadly, the use of eVTOLs in EMS could play a key role in fostering public acceptance of the aircraft, Ben-Eliahou said.

“Public acceptance is a major component for the success of urban air mobility, but there’s a lot of different things that need to converge so this transport promise becomes a reality,” he said. “We think that this could be a good use case to start. People can relate to and accept this: flying within cities [for EMS] brings real value, saving lives.”

Urban Aeronautics is currently seeking Series A funding “to take us to the next level,” Ben-Eliahou said. This would see the development of flying prototypes of CityHawk. The company announced in September that it had raised $10 million of a targeted $100 million from new investors. 

“We’re still raising the funds to increase our team and drive this program faster — we are in discussions with investment banks and [private] investors,” Ben-Eliahou said. The company currently forecasts 2026 as the launch year for CityHawk.

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5 Comments

  1. Hi, you will have to follow the decision(s) of French civil régulation board ( Dgac) about flying over Paris river Seine, for the Olympic games ( 2024). I suppose there will be platform-landings along the River Seine, but …landing elsewhere in small streets …

  2. Agree with Didier. Makeshift alternate landing sites (non-vertiport) will need to be defined for patient pickup (parks, cleared parking lots, etc). Bringing EVTOL to emergency services creates advantages for both EMS and the air mobility industries but further information is needed as to how effective electric aircraft can be for the medical transport system. Until weather parameters are tested and established, EVTOL will remain a VFR only operation and will limit its usefulness in emergency response.
    It will still be a big benefit, but we need to remain realistic in what it can and will be allowed to do.

  3. Admiro ése proyecto aunque dé cara al futuro inmediato debe competir con la proliferación dé nuevos proyectos más inclinados a Drones habitados qué plataformas cómo Urban Aeronáutica, proyecto qué conocí hacé algún tiempo por internet, cómo diseñador les deseo logren alcanzar los objetivos del capital necesario y él éxito en su proyecto, qué vengo siguiendo desdé hacé algún tiempo.

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