On Friday, Embraer announced it had concluded a series of experimental flights in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. These flights were focused on evaluating new autonomous system technologies in actual flight conditions, looking to enable safe autonomous operations in complex urban environments. The Brazilian company is working with EVE, a startup developing an electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Let’s investigate further.
eVTOL experimental flights
The eVTOL technology is being rapidly developed around the world. Many companies are looking to build commercially autonomous aircraft to establish Urban Air Mobility worldwide. Embraer is one of these companies, along with many others like Airbus, Boeing, Vertical Aerospace, and more.
Embraer and EVE launched a project to evaluate new autonomous system technologies in real flight conditions.
The Brazilian company employed regular piloted helicopters in the aerial data collection and real-time evaluation of these technologies in urban scenarios.
These experiments are part of the Embraer Autonomous Systems project, also known as Projet EASy, which uses an agile testing process to develop solutions that will enable the autonomous aviation of the future, said Embraer in a statement. In a nutshell, Embraer is in the first steps to developing the systems allowing EVE VTOL to fly safely through an urban environment.
Felipe Turetta, an R&D engineer for Autonomous Systems at Embraer, said,
“The objective of those tests that we are performing is to exercise the perception system, which is comprised of seven cameras with the objective of obtaining information about the surroundings of the aircraft, and this information will be fed into AI algorithms which will translate this into meaningful information that can be used to make decisions while flying.”
Embraer will not begin autonomous flights without pilots
The Brazilian manufacturer wants to put the first eVTOL aircraft in service within the following years. For example, it wants to bring flying taxis to Australia by 2026. Nonetheless, Embraer (and all the eVTOL-related companies) have to undergo a very long certification process before that happens.
That’s why experiments such as this are important. Julio Bolzani, Head of Autonomous Systems at Embraer, said,
“This project allowed us to evaluate technologies in real-time and also collect lots of data that will later be used in simulations. It is important to note that we are not going straight to fully autonomous operations. As Eve begins operations, pilots will be onboard and will also benefit from the application of these technologies through a safer and simplified vehicle operation until we reach a fully certified autonomous flight system for Urban Air Mobility.”
EVE’s order book
Currently, EVE has an order pipeline valued at more than US$5.0 billion. The company has received more than 1,700 vehicle orders from nearly 20 launch customers around the world.
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Francisco Gomes Neto, President, and CEO of Embraer has said the company believes the urban air mobility market has enormous potential to expand in the coming years, based on an efficient, zero-emissions transport proposition and an effective business proposal.
When do you expect to see eVTOL aircraft in the skies? Let us know in the comments below.
Lead Journalist – South America – Daniel comes to Simple Flying with many years of aviation journalism experience, having worked with Mexican publication A21, Roads & Kingdoms, El Economista and more. His degree in journalism allows him to form beautifully crafted and insightful pieces. His specialist knowledge of Latin American airlines and close relationship with the likes of Aeromexico, Avianca, Volaris brings depth to our coverage in the region. Based in Mexico City, Mexico.
This content was originally published here.