More than 100 technical experts will speak at the Vertical Flight Society’s (VFS) sixth annual Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) Aircraft Symposium and eighth Biennial Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting in Mesa, Arizona, Jan. 29-31, 2019.
“Electric and hybrid-electric propulsion is an exciting new approach to vertical flight aircraft design,” said Mike Hirschberg, VFS executive director. “This is the world’s longest-running symposium on eVTOL aircraft. It’s a unique opportunity for designers, developers, innovators, investors, regulators, infrastructure providers, end users, media, and key influencers to share knowledge and work towards realizing the electric VTOL revolution. This is also a tremendous opportunity for those new to the VTOL industry.”
Although the media refers to this new class of small aircraft using electric and hybrid-electric propulsion as “flying cars,” the moniker “air taxis” is more appropriate for these eVTOL aircraft designed to provide Urban Air Mobility (UAM) services to the public in the near future, according to VFS officials.
The eVTOL Symposium will feature about 60 speakers over 10 sessions, covering all aspects of transformative electric and hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft, including:
- Progress in eVTOL;
- Challenges in eVTOL;
- System safety;
- Vehicle technologies;
- Missions and applications;
- eVTOL opportunities;
- Infrastructure/passenger experience;
- Autonomy and air operations; and
- eVTOL for good.
“A lot of people in the aviation industry dismissed the concept a few years ago, but our past symposia have shown that electric VTOL aircraft passenger service is not only possible but likely within the next few years,” noted Hirschberg, adding “eVTOL companies have attracted well over $1 billion in investment.”
In fact, recent market studies commissioned by NASA, as well as those published by financial investment and analysis companies suggest that as many as 100,000 eVTOL aircraft could be flying commercially in the coming decades as part of an emerging $500 billion to $2 trillion eVTOL market, VFS officials note.
The eVTOL revolution is being supported by some of the world’s largest aerospace companies — Airbus, Bell, Boeing, and Embraer — as well as automotive companies (Aston Martin, Audi, Geely, Honda, and Toyota), and technology leaders and investors (Google, Intel, Tencent, and Uber).
Piloted and autonomous eVTOL aircraft are being developed for various missions including personal air transport, urban air mobility, air taxi, emergency response, and package delivery.
The annual eVTOL Symposium is being held concurrently with the Biennial Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting, which will feature more than 40 technical papers on eVTOL technologies, unmanned VTOL aircraft, and various levels of autonomy for manned/unmanned civil/military helicopters and eVTOL aircraft.
In addition, VFS is hosting two new eVTOL short courses in conjunction with the event, taught by experts in their fields: “Electric VTOL Design” and “Electric VTOL Aeromechanics & Acoustic Prediction Software.”
According to officials, VFS “has led an extensive effort to educate and inform the community of the promise and challenges of eVTOL and has 50 hours of video lectures and presentations available online.”
“The Vertical Flight Society is in a unique position to help to lead the electric and autonomous VTOL revolution by working with the leaders from industry, academia, government and other associations to provide the foundational support necessary to see eVTOL aircraft come to fruition,” Hirschberg said.