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AIR is developing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles with a difference. The Israeli start-up recently revealed the AIR ONE, an aircraft designed for individual consumer ownership, not for public transit.
AIR was founded in late 2017 by entrepreneur Chen Rosen. He was joined shortly after by co-founders Netanel Goldeberg and Rani Plaut.
Rosen has been talking to Auto Futures about the start-up’s ambitions.
“AIR ONE is a sporty, easy-to-operate, all-electric two-seater that lets people fly as easily as they drive. The vehicle offers a range of 110 miles on a single charge and speeds up to 155 miles per hour. AIR ONE’s battery capacity is 74 kilowatts per hour and has power of 575 kilowatts. Eight non-tilt motors coexist with the fixed-wings, allowing an above-average range—this is because most of the weight is shifted to the wing,” says Rosen.
The eVTOL has collapsible wings for easy parking and has the ability to take off from or land on any flat surface. AIR says it’s prioritising everyday practicality for consumers.
“On the ground, AIR ONE’s wings fold to allow for easier parking and transportation by a trailer, so you can take it almost anywhere.”
AIR ONE is the first in a line of diversified, models for personal flight. One of the company’s aims is to build consumer confidence in eVTOLs as a legitimate mode of everyday transport.
“Right now, to jumpstart personal eVTOL adoption, we’re inviting adventurers and visionaries to be the first to pre-order and fly our vehicle. The first market we’re targeting is the US, because of its vast airspace and the fact that the FAA is already developing a regulatory framework for eVTOL use on a large scale—it’s the perfect testing ground for us,” explains Rosen.
“But long-term, we firmly believe that anyone who wants to fly should be able to, and it’s our goal to give them that chance.”
“If you feel confident getting into a car, you’ll feel confident getting in the AIR ONE.”
Rosen says that there is minimal training required to operate AIR ONE. Its ‘fly by intent’ software is designed to manage complex functions and navigation, so that usage isn’t restricted to highly skilled pilots and trained professionals.
“The software takes the pilot’s intent and processes what to do with the aircraft remaining within safety limitations. Because the software doesn’t require a fully-trained pilot to operate, it’s key in helping us fulfil our mission of putting the power of flight in consumers’ hands,” he explains.
“If you feel confident getting into a car, you’ll feel confident getting in the AIR ONE. The user experience is very simple due to our ‘fly by intent’ software, AI-enabled monitoring system which does frequent inspections of the vehicle, and other built-in measures that ensure paramount safety, even with minimal training.”
“The way to build consumer confidence in personal air mobility is to get people used to seeing it in their everyday life, and that starts with early adopters and trailblazing policymakers developing regulatory frameworks for eVTOLs. Once people see, at first, tens, then hundreds, then thousands of people ‘wheels up’ everyday, even the most hesitant will jump at the chance to try it themselves,” he adds.
AIR plans to begin rolling-out the AIR ONE by early 2024. It’s currently working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to obtain U.S. certification.
AIR has begun taking pre-orders for AIR ONE, and pricing information will be announced in early 2022.
Looking further ahead, we asked Rosen to paint a picture of what mobility above our cities will look like in the future.
“We think that by 2030 vertical mobility will be composed mostly of privately owned air vehicles. While further into the future this trend is expected to shift towards public air taxis. It will take over a decade to mature regulation and automation to the levels required for such mass public use,” concludes Rosen.