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ASX and Spirit AeroSystems partner to develop affordable eVTOL aircraft for mass production

Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX), an aviation technology start-up, and Spirit AeroSystems, a global aircraft design and manufacturing company, have signed a memorandum of understanding and a definitive agreement to cooperate on creation of affordable, certified all-electric, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

The program aims to converge automotive mass production techniques with the reliability of commercial-grade aerospace. The path to delivering low-cost aircraft systems starts with engineering services, then parts fabrication, and finally system integration supporting the launch of ASX’s all-electric eVTOL aircraft, the MOBi-One.

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MOBi-One will use a Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) System. DEP provides for quiet and scale-free propulsion where electric motors provide high power to weight, efficiency, reliability, and compactness at different scales.

MOBi-One will feature redundant, digitally controlled vehicle thrust, and robust control throughout forward flight to hover with 4x cruise efficiency (lift/drag ratio) compared to helicopters.

In addition to a purely electric solution, we are working to integrate a clean hybrid propulsion system that enables our aircraft to fly continuously without recharging.

ASX is enlisting the proven expertise of Spirit, a top supplier of structures, such as fuselages and wing components, to the world’s premier commercial and defense aircraft manufacturers.

We look forward to working with ASX, an early pioneer in the emerging urban air mobility market. Spirit is actively developing new concepts, designs and solutions that will help build next-generation aircraft and solve challenges in the future. This collaboration gives Spirit the opportunity to bring our world-class capabilities to this important future market for logistics and personal transportation.

—Keith Hamilton, Executive Director, Programs and Business Development for Spirit

ASX is launching a Series A Funding round in March 2020.

Comments

mahonj

Looks a bit like the LTV XC 142 VTOL aircraft from 1969, only with modern technology and hype.
I'm not sure I would want to invest in the Series A.

electric-car-insider.com

I’m curious why so many of these new electric aircraft prototypes are VTOL. It is a much more energy intensive flight regime, much more difficult, more risk.

It’s not like you’ll be taking off from your back yard. More heliports than runways to be sure, but it seems like a conventional fixed wing like the eFlyer or Alice would be feasible far before a VTOL.


gryf

So who has not dreamed of owning "George Jetson's Flying Car"?
There is even an autonomous air transport company called "Elroy Air" (George Jetson'e son).
The LTV XC142 was a great airplane and should have been produced. It did have problems with the cross-linked driveshaft which is not required on electric aircraft. Another tilt wing aircraft the Canadiar CL84 Dynavert was also very successful. So the tech definitely works.
Uber is promoting Air Taxis so they could be in our future (so is Hyundai and Toyota also). Of course, today Air Taxis are called helicopters and a few familiar helicopter companies like Bell, Airbus, Karem, and Piasecki all have eVTOL aircraft designs.
Spirit Aerospace knows a lot about about aircraft and composite manufacturing, they are a spinoff of Boeing ( I worked there 10 years ago at a plant that built B-52s). ASX looks good as well, so I hope they have good luck on the MOBi One.

The Lurking Jerk

@ electric car insider:
Maybe that would be a big plus for a short hop type of aircraft- they will want to use the smaller airports. Electric Aviation will get it's foothold that way, because within the short range of an electric plane, price per passenger can be significantly lower than combustion flight.
Electric motors can provide the insane amounts of torque and power to help. It's in the same way that Teslas can summon huge amounts of power as well, and out-accellerate all kinds of ICE powered sports cars.

electric-car-insider.com

Completely agree about short hop, see a lot of promise in the Harbour Air and MagniX collaboration.

Just not convinced that tilt-rotor will be an early success. Just count the number of motors and multiply by max current draw x climb to 1,500-2,000ft. Really curious how this is a winner near term.

gryf

@electric-car-insider,
Agree that there appears to be too many rotors on all of these Air Taxi Concepts.
MOBi One went from 4 props to 8 contra-rotating props. Bell went the right direction going from 6 ducted rotors to 4 in the Nexus 4x (now looks a lot like the Bell X-22). Canadair in the 1960s went from 4 props on their CL-62 Tilt Wings to 2 on the CL-84 which worked very well. Even though the older tilt-wing tilt-rotor concepts had problems with mechanical driveshafts, too many electric motors will be too complex as well. Simpler appears to be the best approach.

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