By Brian Garrett-Glaser

Brian covers the ecosystem emerging around eVTOLs and urban air mobility. Follow him on twitter @bgarrettglaser.


European consortium launches two-year urban air mobility demonstrator program

Europe’s Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking, or SESAR-JU, has formed a consortium to design and test concepts of operations for various urban air mobility applications within the European U-space framework, resolving to accumulate more than 100 flight hours over the next two years.

Tecnalia air taxi prototype
Tecnalia, one of at least two vehicle providers for a new European project on urban air mobility, unveiled a single-passenger air taxi prototype in Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain, in July 2019. Tecnalia Photo

The consortium of 17 companies and organizations includes airspace service providers such as Altitude Angel and ANRA Technologies; academic institutions like Cranfield University; aerospace giants Boeing and Airbus, via Boeing Research & Technology Europe and Airbus Operations SL; and vehicle providers EHang and Tecnalia.

“The project will allow UAM stakeholders to specify various use cases applicable to logistics and urban transport of passengers, to design or integrate UAM environment, to test the UAS ground and airborne platforms and finally, to assess safety, security, sustainability and public acceptance,” a SESAR-JU press release stated.

Officially, the project is referred to as Air Mobility Urban – Large Experimental Demonstrations (AMU-LED). After designing detailed concepts of operations for urban air mobility missions, the project aims to carry out simulation and finally “a large real flight demonstration campaign to verify and validate the concepts.”

Tecnalia, a Spanish research and development center, previously demonstrated a single-passenger multicopter in hover and committed to demonstration flights above two regional capital cities by 2022.

Chinese first-mover EHang has announced three cities in Austria and Spain as urban air mobility pilot cities and in December achieved first flight of its EH216 in Austria with partner FACC. The company, publicly listed on the Nasdaq under ‘EH’, has seen its stock soar by more than 400 percent in the last month.

“Throughout 2022, EHang will perform trial operations of the EH216, its flagship two-seat passenger-grade AAV [autonomous aerial vehicle], in three countries: Spain, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands,” the company said in a release, noting the program will increase EHang’s involvement with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

AMU-LED received €4 million in funding from SESAR-JU’s European Union Horizons 2020 research and innovation program.

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