The flight took place as part of the final demonstrations of the Uspace4UAM project, an EU-funded project, which has been working to ensure the safe introduction of urban air mobility in Europe.
The tests, which were carried out at the ATLAS centre, an experimental flight centre in Villacarrillo, started the air taxi on a 160-metre journey at an altitude of 15 metres. The demonstration proved that autonomous take-off and landing, autonomous altitude control and integration of the air taxi into European airspace is possible.
This air taxi has great advantages over the helicopter or light aircraft, as it is one hundred percent electric, being more viable for introduction into the city and is much more economical, pollutes less and the noise is lower.
It can reach 120 kilometres per hour, as it is an intercity vehicle, has a range of fifteen kilometres or fifteen minutes, although it will gradually be extended
Although 15 kilometres may seem short, it should be borne in mind that 85% of urban city centres are around that distance, so this type of vehicle "could go from one side of the city to the other in a straight line in seven minutes", according to Joseba Lasa, director of the project.
In the future, the prototype is intended to be autonomous, single-seater and so small that it can be parked in the city center without the need for infrastructure, it will have the size of a car.
This is a major step towards the integration of this type of aircraft into the airspace, as intended by the European project Uspace4UAM, which aims to validate the management of urban air traffic by manned aircraft.
Umiles Next and Tecnalia expect their air and ground-based urban mobility solutions to become a real alternative by around 2028.
H., M. (2022, October 27). Un prototipo de Aerotaxi Realiza Su primer vuelo libre en españa en tierra jiennense. Diario de Sevilla. Retrieved November 10, 2022, from https://www.diariodesevilla.es/andalucia/prototipo-aerotaxi-realiza-pruebas-vuelo-Espana-villacarrillo-jaen_0_1733226881.html
Primer Vuelo Libre en España del Aerotaxi Concept Integrity. Tecnalia. (1970, November 10). Retrieved November 10, 2022, from https://www.tecnalia.com/noticias/primer-vuelo-libre-espana-aerotaxi