Tuesday, May 21, 2024

AutoFlight delivers first eVTOL air taxi to customer in Japan

AutoFlight has achieved a significant milestone by delivering its first civilian ton-class eVTOL aircraft, Prosperity, to a customer in Japan. The aircraft, which can accommodate up to five passengers, was handed over to an Advanced Air Mobility operator in Japan, who is planning to conduct demonstration eVTOL flights at the 2025 Osaka World Expo and roll out AAM services in Japan.

In another recent achievement, AutoFlight’s cargo variant of Prosperity, CarryAll, became the world’s first eVTOL aircraft above one ton to be awarded type certification by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

“The official delivery of the first Prosperity to a customer signifies a new chapter for AutoFlight as we begin to ship our innovative electric aircraft to global markets. Additionally, on the cargo side, the receipt of orders for over 200 CarryAll planes already demonstrates a very strong market demand for our products,” said Tian Yu, founder and co-chairman of AutoFlight.

The recent CarryAll orders include 30 units for ZTO Express, a NYSE and HKEX dual-listed company and one of the world’s largest logistics companies.

Securing TC airworthiness certification is crucial for the safety and market entry of an aircraft for commercial operations. The CarryAll, which runs on electric power and operates autonomously, has a maximum take-off weight of 2 tons. Its compliance verification covered a wide range of aspects, such as stability, performance control, lift/thrust system, structural strength/composite blades, battery system, electrical system, avionics system, and flight performance.

To ensure its safety and compliance, the thorough review process involved manufacturing compliance inspections and 46 major compliance verification tests at the equipment level, system level, and structural component level. Moreover, the CarryAll airworthiness certification prototype underwent eight significant compliance tests, including plateau performance, data link, and ground station functions, involving 156 flights and exceeding a total flight distance of 10,000 km.

In February, AutoFlight achieved an interesting milestone as it presented the world’s first inter-city electric air taxi demonstration flight. The flight was completed by AutoFlight’s Prosperity aircraft, which autonomously flew from Shenzhen to Zhuhai, covering a distance of 50km (31 miles) in just 20 minutes.

This flight across the Pearl River Delta significantly reduces travel time, as the same distance by car would take about three hours. This is a remarkable achievement and marks the world’s first public flight of an eVTOL aircraft on a cross-sea and inter-city route.

The Shenzhen to Zhuhai route will be a part of the future air traffic scenario planned by the regional government as they develop their ‘low-altitude economy’ strategy. This will see the opening of thousands of vertiports and hundreds of eVTOL air routes across the Greater Bay Area in southern China.

Recently, a demonstration flight took place in the region, which is home to approximately 86 million people, and is in close proximity to multiple international airports, such as Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau. The flight showcased AutoFlight’s advanced aviation technology in an intricate environment and demonstrated their commitment to safety and regulatory compliance in pushing the boundaries of urban air mobility.