At Uber’s Elevate summit in Washington, DC earlier this month, researchers, industry leaders and engineers gathered to celebrate the approaching advent of on-demand air service.
For Dr. Anita Sengupta, co-founder and Chief Product Office at Detroit’s Airspace Experience Technologies (abbreviated ASX), it was an event full of validation of her company’s specific approach to making electric vertical take-off and landing craft a working, commercially viable reality.
ASX’s eVTOL design is a tilt-wing design, which is distinct from the tilt-rotor design you might see on some of the splashier concept vehicles in the category.
The benefits of ASX’s tilt-wing choice, according to Sengupta, is speed to market and compatibility with existing regulatory and pilot licensing frameworks – and that’s why ASX could be providing cargo transport service relatively quickly for paying customers, with passenger travel to follow once regulators and the public get comfortable with the idea.
“So we would not be classified as a rotorcraft, we’d be classified as a fixed wing aircraft with multi-engine, just with obviously special certification features for the VTOL capability.
That not only makes it easier to use for pilots with more conventional training and experience, but it also means it can slot into existing infrastructure relatively easily and make use of underused regional airports that already dot the U.S.