In 2018, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) headquartered in Montreal, Canada, founded the non-profit organization called Ambular. The goal of Ambular is to develop an open source electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) emergency medical response (EMS) aircraft for urban environments, so that for-profit companies can use the ICAO's research to successfully design and manufacturer eVTOL aircraft for very safe EMS operations.
Ambular's goal is to not only to increase the response time for medical emergencies but to reduce the potential collisions that do happen when ambulances travel fast through traffic. Using an autonomous eVTOL aircraft with sense and avoid technology (which would include avoiding a flock of birds) will increase the response time for critical medical care and make the trip many times safer for the passenger and everyone else on the ground. In addition, Ambular has the goal of also making an open source eVTOL drone with the purpose of delivering emergency medicine and medical supplies to patients who need them.
EHang is Ambular's first hardware partner providing rotors and electric motors and possibly other hardware, for use in designing their open source eVTOL EMS aircraft. Ambular is an all volunteer organization and the non-profit organization will be not be manufacturing any commercial products.
Some key goals of Ambular:
- Make an open source eVTOL for any for-profit companies for free, to use to help design their EMS eVTOL aircraft and allowing the design to be modified by companies as they see fit, as long as they comply with the entire Ambular Creed
- Make the eVTOL aircraft affordable so that anyone can be transported in it
- Make safety a top priority. Example, a goal is to reduce complexity which increases safety.
- Make the aircraft environmentally friendly, to be carbon neutral
- Provide data stewardship and not allowing personal data to be collective for for-profit use but only for private medical use
- Make the aircraft socially responsible by complying with the Hippocratic Oath and the Archimedean Oath
- The aircraft will be designed so it can be maintained in any city in the world
- Make the eVTOL aircraft modular, so the aircraft can easily use interchangeable parts
- Make the aircraft design flexible enough that it can be used for multiple rescue type missions such as EMS, natural disasters, fires and other scenarios where lives are at stake
Ambular 3.0 is an more advanced autonomous (or remotely piloted) EMS eVTOL aircraft which holds one patient and two paramedics. The Ambular 3.0 eVTOL aircraft will be more similar to an ambulance because not only does it hold more people but it has extra room for medical supplies and equipment. Because Ambular is estimating more propellers and electric motors, this will increase the maneuverability and the safety of the aircraft, which is something which medical personnel will be glad to have available to them.
This open source multicopter aircraft will have a faster cruising of 150 km/h (93 mph) or more, more propellers and will have the option to be powered by batteries or have a hybrid-electric power source. While the range and flight time has not been estimated by Ambular and because it is a larger aircraft, it can be save to assume this aircraft will have a longer range and flight time than it's Ambular 2.0 counterpart.
As of the fall of 2020, Ambular has designed a total of five drone and passenger eVTOL aircraft: Ambular, Ambular Drone, Ambular Pod, Ambular 2.0 and Ambular 3.0. The organization is using computational fluid dynamics and a wind tunnel to validate their open source eVTOL aircraft. The organization plans to have a ¼-scale prototype to be ready to fly in the next four to five years. The organization has not decided if it will be building a full scale prototype.
Ambular is looking for individual volunteers, corporations and institutions to help achieve their goals, in the form of workers, providing resources and providing funding.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL EMS passenger aircraft
- Piloting: Autonomous or remote piloting
- Capacity: 3 passengers: 2 paramedics, 1 patient and have the ability for the aircraft hold necessary medical supplies
- Cruise speed: 150 km/h (93 mph) or more
- Range: Unknown
- Flight time: Unknown
- Propellers: 8–16 propellers (possibly use ducted propellers)
- Electric Motors: 8–16 electric motors
- Power source: Batteries or hybrid-electric
- Airframe: Carbon fiber 350 kg (772 lbs) or less
- Windows: Panoramic windows and doors forward, left and right visibility
- Landing gear: 4 fixed landing struts
- Safety Features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft.
- Ambular website
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) website
- Ambular Facebook
- Ambular YouTube Channel
- Ambular Instagram
- Ambular LinkedIn
- Article: Ambular uses the sky to provide swift medical emergency response in crowded cities, Yanko Design, June 4, 2017
- Video: Ambular, Ambular, Nov. 15, 2019
- Article: The Ambular project: an ICAO supported initiative, Uniting Aviation, April 7, 2020
- Video: Ambular Presentation, Ambular, April 8, 2020
- Article: Concordia engineers help develop an emergency response drone, Concordia, April 14, 2020
- Video on Facebook: 4TH SPACE Concordia University-discusses Ambular Drone, Concordia on Facebook, April 16, 2020
- Video: Ambular: The case for a different way to connect with the future, We Are FINN, July 21, 2020
- Article: EHang joins Ambular project to develop an eVTOL air ambulance, eVTOL, Aug. 21, 2020
- Article: EHang Joins ICAO’s Ambular Project As First Hardware Partner, Aviation Today, Aug. 24, 2020