Australian eVTOL developer AMSL Aero recently unveiled significant progress on its aircraft design, Vertiia, initially intended for emergency medical use, which the company hopes to bring to market by 2023 for aeromedical partner CareFlight and later for passenger use.
Initially piloted with built-in autonomy capabilities, AMSL intends for Vertiia to carry four passengers up to 155 miles (250 kilometers) at a cruise speed of 186 mph (300 km/hr) purely on electric batteries — an ambitious target compared to most other eVTOL developers. Using hydrogen, the company expects to extend the aircraft’s range to 500 miles (800 km).
The company has completed both a one-fifth size subscale design and a full-scale model that has not yet flown.
“Its unique design makes it the most efficient electric vertical takeoff and landing design under development in the world,” said AMSL Aero cofounder Andrew Moore, in a recent video unveiling. Vertiia employs four tilting wings with eight motors and propellers to achieve vertical takeoff and forward flight.
Moore, an engineer with 20 years’ experience in helicopter and aircraft design, founded the company in 2017 along with his wife, Siobhan Lyndon, a lawyer and business professional who spent 11 years with Google prior to joining AMSL Aero full-time in early 2018. The company grew out of Australian telecommunications company Telstra’s muru-D incubator, where it found initial funding, and later AMSL received $3 million AUD in funding from London-based IP Group. In February of this year, AMSL Aero was awarded a two-year innovation grant from the Australian government worth $3.3 million AUD.
“This project enables the acceleration and optimization of Vertiia, a passenger carrying and aeromedical electric vertical take–off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, to be the most efficient and longest range eVTOL aircraft globally,” the Australian government described as the purpose of the grant. “Once optimized, Vertiia will provide the lowest cost aeromedical and passenger transport solution available. The low operating cost and high speed will reduce rural road trips, facilitate greater connection in regional Australia, reduce transport fatalities and reduce the cost of maintaining and building new transport infrastructure.”
In July, AMSL Aero received a further $950,000 AUD grant from the New South Wales regional government to expand to the Narromine Aerodrome, where the company expects to create five to 10 jobs and fly its aircraft prototype.
In September, the Australian federal government released a policy white paper on emerging aviation technologies, including some discussion of eVTOLs as well as unmanned aircraft and airspace management challenges.