The status of eVTOL: soon to be reality?

What is the News?

The Union Civil Aviation Minister has said that the Government of India is exploring the possibility of inviting manufacturers of Electric Vertical Take off and Landing(eVTOL) aircraft to set up base in India.

What is Electric Vertical Take off and Landing(eVTOL) Aircraft?
Electric Vertical Take off and Landing(eVTOL) aircraft
Source: The Hindu

eVTOL Aircraft is one that uses electric power to hover, take off, and land vertically. 

Most eVTOLs also use what is called distributed electric propulsion technology, which means integrating a complex propulsion system with the airframe. 

This technology has grown on account of successes in electric propulsion based on progress in motor, battery, fuel cell and electronic controller technologies. The development is also fuelled by the need for new vehicle technology that ensures urban air mobility (UAM).

What is the significance of eVTOL?

eVTOL is being seen as a runway independent technological solution for the globe’s transportation needs.

This is because it opens up new possibilities that aircraft with engines cannot carry out in areas such as manoeuvrability, efficiency and even from the environmental point of view. 

Moreover, eVTOLs have also been likened to a third wave in an aerial revolution; the first being the advent of commercial flying and the second the age of helicopters.

What are the challenges with eVTOL?

a) As the technology so far is a mix of unpiloted and piloted aircraft, the areas in focus include “crash prevention systems”. These use cameras, radar, GPS (Global Positioning System) and infrared scanners, b) Ensuring safety in case of a power plant or rotor failure, c) Aircraft protection from cyberattacks is another area of focus and d) Navigation and flight safety and the use of technology when operating in difficult terrain, unsafe operating environments and bad weather.

What about bringing eVTOL aircraft to India?

For this, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)  Taskforce for Urban Air Mobility has suggested policy and regulation changes to better integrate EVAs. It has advised: 

1) Formulating regulations for pilotless vehicles, 2) Airworthiness certifications, 3) Implementing efficient energy management systems, 4) Onboard sensors, 5) Collision detection systems, 6) Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, 7) Charging stations and 8) Robust air traffic management system.

Source: The post is based on the article “The status of eVTOL: soon to be reality?published in The Hindu on 6th June 2022.

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