The Japanese electronics manufacturer NEC Corp. has demonstrated a new eVTOL prototype in hovering flight.
NEC displayed the aircraft on Aug. 5 at its facility in Abiko City, Japan, a Tokyo suburb. The drone was tethered and in an enclosed area for the demonstration, which included takeoff and landing phases and sustained hovering flight for about a minute.
According to a press release, NEC plans to construct a traffic control and communications management infrastructure to enable future aeromobility. As a first step in this initiative, it developed the prototype to better understand the aircraft management functions and flight characteristics of a type of eVTOL aircraft that may be flying in the near future.
The prototype measures 3.9 meters in length, 3.7 meters in width, and 1.3 meters in height (12.8, 12.1, and 4.3 feet, respectively). NEC said the prototype incorporates newly developed flight control software for autonomous flight and positioning information.
NEC has been taking part in the “Public-Private Conference for Future Air Mobility Revolution” organized by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). That conference has developed a roadmap for deploying new eVTOL aircraft not only for urban air mobility, but also for applications including rural mobility, cargo transportation, and disaster relief.
The company also has a sponsorship agreement with Cartivator to support the development of Cartivator’s “SkyDrive” flying car.
NEC said it intends to leverage its expertise in the development of control technology, wireless communications technology, and cybersecurity measures, among other fields, to realize a “next-generation mobile environment that seamlessly connects the ground to the sky.” The company said it intends to continue technical development of flying vehicle prototypes for verification and evaluation purposes, in addition to collaborating with partners such as Cartivator.