Since the UBER Elevate Summit in April this year, more OEMs said they would develop eVTOLs, aircraft that can take off and land vertically and that use electric power. Among them AgustaWestland, Aurora, Airbus. Embraer. The argument for eVTOLs is as follows.
1. If aviation authorities will allow parcel delivery drones, why not beef-up the rotors and airlift passengers? Electric rotor technology is constantly evolving (already past the 5 kW per 1 kg own weight threshold), so are lightweighting and battery tech.
2. If we expect cars to ‘2D-maneuver’ autonomously through dense city traffic... then it should be less of a problem to have rotor-equipped vehicles auto-pilot themselves through the air, where there’s lots of 3D space to maneuver.
3. eVTOLs are safer than ICE-propelled helicopters. They are less complex, have less mechanical parts, have no variable propeller settings (like a helicopter has). eVTOLs will be cheaper to operate, and will not require a pilot (license) in 5 years time.
4. Change of regulations is up to aviation authorities of course. Adapting them will work as an enabler of one of the most exciting, new industries (same with developing self-driving cars). Generally, governments don't want to miss out on them.
What say you?