AirSpaceX's autonomous, electric air taxi lands in Detroit
Airspace Experience Technologies, LLC (AirSpaceX) has given a preview of its vision for the future of air taxi services at this year's North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The company unveiled a sub-scale model of its vertical take off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, Mobi-One, an autonomous, tilt-wing electric aircraft designed to carry both passengers and cargo at speeds of up to 250 mph (400 km/h).
According to AirSpaceX, US$300 billion dollars in fuel and productivity costs a year are wasted in traffic jams and other delays in the United States alone. Additionally, urban drivers spend 42 hours stuck in traffic each year, while pumping 38 billion pounds (17 billion kg) of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Designed and built by AirSpaceX parent compant Detroit Aircraft Corporation (DAC) at Detroit City Airport, Mobi-One is targeted at the point-to-point commuter market as a clean, quiet alternative to road transport that relies on "lean automotive design and mass production techniques" to be affordable to produce.
Mobi-One uses four wing-mounted electric motors that the maker claims makes the aircraft quieter than a helicopter. It's designed to carry two to four passengers or payloads of over 200 kg (440 lb) at a cruising speed of 150 mph (241 km/h) over a range of 65 mi (104 km).
Along with its pilot assisted/autonomous flight avionics, it also has broadband connectivity for high speed internet access, V2X collision avoidance, and safety messaging. Aside from passenger and cargo services, it can also be used for medical and casualty evacuation; tactical Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR); and research flights.
The Mobi-One was developed in cooperation with Camilo Pardo, who was the chief designer of the 2005 and 2006 Ford GT. Completion of the aircraft's engineering packages are still the primary focus, but the hope is that a full-scale version of the craft will soon be available for US FAA certification.
"Our goal is to deploy 2,500 aircraft at the nation's 50 largest cities by 2026, targeting existing infrastructure at first," says JP Yorro, Chief Commercial Officer at AirSpaceX. "The MOBi development program will be capital intensive, but air Mobility as a Service could generate billions for the economy. We are considering a broad array of financing options, including potential fractional ownership interest and profit sharing models."