UAVOS has unveiled a new concept for an autonomous air taxi vehicle based on an all-electric, tandem-rotor helicopter design. SumoAir, which can be operated manually as well as autonomously, consists of a five-seater passenger section and a pilot cabin. The new project forms part of the company’s R&D efforts to explore the fundamental technologies behind electric aircraft and the emerging urban air mobility (UAM) market.
The SumoAir unmanned helicopter is powered by two large three-bladed horizontal rotors with a diameter of 23 ft (7 m), mounted one in front of the other, driven by two electric motors at around 520 rpm to ensure a low acoustic footprint. Built-in-safety features include autorotation flight and landing capabilities. UAVOS has designed the platform with a cruise speed of approximately 87 mph (140 km/h) with a flight endurance of up to 1.3 hours. The aircraft will be able to cruise at altitudes of up to 8200 ft (2500 m). Measuring 11.5 m (37.7 ft) in length and 7.5 m (24.6 ft) in width, it will be able to carry up to 3700 lb (1680 kg).
Aliaksei Stratsilatau, UAVOS CEO and Lead Developer, commented: “By 2030, 43 cities will be home to over 10 million people. In congested cities such as Los Angeles and Moscow, commuters spend nearly 100 hours a year in traffic jams. We expect autonomous flying will definitely ease the traffic burden on city roads. Air taxis could be ideal for urban ridesharing in the near future.”
Stratsilatau believes that in addition to regulations, safety and cost, there are other factors that are crucial in the UAM market. A successful UAM framework will require the co-operation of a variety of different industries, including aviation, automotive, telecom, software, cybersecurity and real estate.