Rolls Royce. Aston Martin. Uber. Why is everyone investing millions of dollars in Fixed-wing VTOL?
From the very beginning of human existence, there has been an undying dream to fly. Though, we have achieved it at different levels with the Wright Brothers’ first successful airplane flight in 1903, the helicopter in 1942 and the talk of the last decade the UAVs. But all these have their own drawbacks in terms of the technology and as humans, we want more.
The technology that combines the benefits of both the fixed-wing aircraft and the rotorcrafts is the Fixed Wing Vertical Take-off and Landing or in short the Fixed Wing VTOL. This technology allows the aircraft to have higher travel speeds due to the fixed wings, the ability to vertically launch, land and hover in the air due to the propellers.
Hence, the fixed-wing VTOL aircraft have eliminated the need for long runways and can fly where helicopters cannot. This unique ability has found endless applications in different industries for these aircraft.
There are mainly two types of fixed-wing VTOL aircraft: fixed-wing VTOL manned aircraft and fixed-wing hybrid VTOL UAVs.
The fixed-wing hybrid VTOL UAVs are being used in the mining industry for the geological mapping of the land, in the forest areas to fight forest fires and also to transport the food, water and medical supplies in relief operations. But still, the major market for these aircraft lies in the defense industry applications of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR).
Tactical Robotics has created its electrically powered VTOL UAV called Coromant that can deliver cargo weighing up to 1100 pounds or evacuate two passengers at a time. While UCL Robotics has developed their fixed-wing UAS for the inspection of gas transmission pipelines and electrical transmission lines.
On the other hand, the fixed-wing VTOL manned aircraft will be the beginning of a completely new era in urban travel. As more and more people are migrating to cities, they are getting clogged with traffic jams and people are spending more time on the road than with their families. Hence, there is a need for an alternative solution and it might exist in the third dimension or in other words AIR TRAVEL.
Daily commuting in urban cities through air taxis and flying cars, might still take years to be practically executable but major companies and start-ups have started venturing into this market. Uber has developed its models for eVTOL (electric VTOL) air taxis under the Uber Elevate initiative. Rolls Royce launched its eVTOL concept in the Farnborough International Airshow on 16th July 2018.
Opener, a California based start-up, has launched its VTOL aircraft Black fly and Transcend Air Corporation has announced its six-seater VTOL aircraft. Also, IIT Kanpur, a premier engineering institute in India, has signed a $2.1 Million MOU with the VTOL aviation Pvt Ltd, to carry out the pre-feasibility study, feasibility study and to develop the prototypes of autonomous VTOL aircraft to be used as air taxis to carry civilians.
UAVs and VTOL aircraft are no more restricted to rich hobbyists and defense applications but are gradually becoming the need of every industry.
The fixed-wing VTOL has been recognized as a key technology for the future by experts all over the world and having closely followed all the major trends and developments in this industry for two years, our analysts have conducted a Business Intelligence and Strategy Research on the market, more than once.