Volocopter and Near Earth Autonomy partner on autonomous flight capabilities for the VoloDrone

June 1, 2021
Volocopter is currently preparing for their commercial launch of UAM services within the next three years.

MUNICH - Near Earth Autonomy and Volocopter’s VoloDrone team announced today that they will partner to test Near Earth Autonomy’s autonomous flight technology on Volocopter’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) VoloDrone aircraft. As leaders in the eVTOL and autonomy industries respectively, Volocopter and Near Earth Autonomy will combine and apply their expertise to further autonomous urban air mobility (UAM). Together they plan to demonstrate their progress in a Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Capability Demonstration in Munich in 2022.

Volocopter brings ten years of eVTOL flight testing experience with over 1,000 flight tests to the project. Its VoloDrone vehicle is designed to safely transport cargo where conventional ground-based transport is limited (due to topography, regulation, or simply congested areas of traffic). Near Earth Autonomy has conducted 3,500 flights lasting over 2,000 flight hours of their cutting-edge autonomy system across various aircraft types, sizes, and environments in the last eight years of aerial autonomy development. Together they will aim to establish standardized BVLOS capabilities for VoloDrone missions within the business-to-business transport sector.

Volocopter is currently preparing for their commercial launch of UAM services within the next three years. These services are planned to function within a UAM ecosystem to promote greater connectivity in congested urban areas with sustainable, aerial solutions. This ecosystem will be composed of electric air taxis (VoloCity and VoloConnect), electric heavy-lift drones (VoloDrone), their respective infrastructures (VoloPort), and a digital connective platform (VoloIQ).

Near Earth has already integrated their BVLOS autonomy systems with full-scale helicopters, both in piloted and remotely piloted configurations. Together with Volocopter, they will adapt their autonomy technology to seamlessly integrate with the overall eVTOL architecture while addressing the challenges of weight, power, and cost. To start, the partners will utilize subscale testbeds equipped with Near Earth Autonomy’s technology and Volocopter’s control systems to test the BVLOS capabilities in a controlled environment.

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