NASA has launched test flights of eVTOL electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, commonly referred to as flying cars, with Joby Aviation.
The test flights come as part of a nationwide campaign by NASA to monitor these test planes in action and determine if they are safe for passengers.
Joby Aviation, founded in 2009, is the first electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft company to participate in National Campaign NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility.
AndShe said The agency said test flights began Monday, August 30, at the company’s airport in Big Sur, California, and will continue through September 10.
But NASA won’t be just a passive observer as the Joby Aviation 6-engine jet flies through the air. The agency said it is collecting vehicle performance and acoustic data for use in modeling and simulating future airspace concepts.
In other words, the agency closely monitors the aircraft’s sound to see how it compares to helicopters and other fuel-powered vehicles.
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NASA tests electric air taxi with Joby Aviation
One of the main selling points of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft companies is that these aircraft are significantly less noisy than helicopters. It is therefore better suited for trips over populated areas.
During test flights, the agency says its team gathers information about how the vehicle moves, what the vehicle looks like, and how the vehicle communicates with the controls.
The agency plans to conduct similar tests with additional electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft companies in the future.
The agency is also advising the Federal Aviation Administration as it writes new rules for electric air taxis.
The national campaign is an important strategic step in the agency’s goals to accelerate the timeline for the advanced air mobility industry.
These test scenarios help to report gaps in existing standards. This is to take advantage of the industry’s progress in integrating advanced air mobility vehicles into the airspace.
Of course, NASA’s mission is to encourage the development of advanced flight technology. But the FAA’s job is to write the rules that govern flights and commercial operations.
The space agency previously signed data-sharing agreements with Uber over the ride-sharing company’s air taxi plans.
The company last year transferred its electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft division called Uber Elevate to Joby Aviation. This is in exchange for an investment of $75 million in the startup.
Moreover, Joby Aviation and other eVTOL companies are hoping to win FAA certification. But this process may take a long time.
Some experts said it will take five years or more before the FAA can award eVTOL certification.
Joby Aviation said it aims to launch its first air taxi service in 2024.
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