Founded in 2018 in Los Altos, California, USA, ASKA is developing a hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and short takeoff and landing (STOL) passenger aircraft that will work both as an aircraft and ground car (or a drive-fly vehicle). The company opened a modern showroom for the public in Los Altos on April 15, 2021. On June 7, 2019, ASKA unveiled its ASKA 1.0 concept design and provided the Vertical Flight Society with an interview and details on its vehicle. ASKA means 'flying bird' in Japanese, and the company said "it’s the first viable eVTOL vehicle that can both drive on the road and fly autonomously in the sky."
The company foresees door-to-door same road-and-air vehicle as the best method for the emerging advanced air mobility (AAM) industry. A big advantage for this vehicle is there is no need to travel to airports and there will be no need to pay for on-demand ground taxi service. The passenger's entire trip will be in one vehicle. The company will eventually transition the aircraft to be an all electric aircraft when battery technology has enough energy density to fly long distances and are completely safe to use for air travel.
ASKAA5 full-scale prototype hybrid-electric VTOL four passenger roadable aircraft
The ASKA A5 is an autonomous on-demand hybrid-electric VTOL (and STOL) four passenger roadable prototype and production model aircraft. The company made the A5's first public appearance of its fully-functional prototype at CES 2023 (Consumer Electronics Show) that took place Jan. 5-8, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The maximum cruise speed in the air is 150 mph (241 km/h) and its top speed on the ground is 70 mph (113 km/h). The flight range of the aircraft is 250 miles (402 km). The aircraft can either take off and land vertically, or take off and land on conventional runways.
The aircraft has six electric propellers and six electric motors mounted on foldable tandem wings. Each rotor has an independent battery power source plus has a range extender. Therefore, the aircraft has two power supplies. The aircraft features a robust energy management system with redundant power distribution architecture. The large rear wing is optimized for gliding, smooth landings and efficient energy consumption while each tilt rotor is used for vehicle control. The aircraft has large windows providing excellent views for the passengers. Two rear vertical stabilizers are used for additional aerodynamic control.
The A5 is the size of an SUV and has a spacious interior. In drive mode, the ASKA A5 has in-wheel motor technology and has all-wheel drive traction. The wheels are located outside the fuselage for better aerodynamics and to also maximize the interior of the vehicle. The aircraft has been designed to ensure continued flight and a safe landing in the event of an emergency. In the event of loss of power, the aircraft has a whole aircraft emergency ballistic parachute.
Flight and road testing
ASKA's development and flight testing is being conducted in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) guidelines for certification. ASKA has also signed a five-year Space Act Agreement with NASA to advance their participation in NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign (AAM), jointly organized with the FAA. As of May 2023, the company has been conducting supervised road tests and system testing of the roadable aircraft in Los Altos, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Stanford University (California, USA). The recent road tests are part of the Type Certification process with the U.S Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
On August 2, 2023, the company announced the ASKA A5 full scale prototype successfully completed its first tethered test flight.
On June 30, 2023, ASKA reported that the company had achieved Certificate of Authorization (COA) and Special Airworthiness Certification for the A5 prototype by the FAA. The company also stated they have successfully conducted more than 300 miles of road testing at the time.
Pre-orders, pricing and on-demand ride-sharing
In 2023, the company announced the ASKA A5 is available for pre-order sales and have disclosed the company has already received $50 million USD in more than 60 pre-order sales. Also in 2023, the company has stated the price for the A5 is anticipated to be $789,000.00 USD. The company is also developing an affordable on-demand ride-sharing service and is expected to launch this service in 2026 in major cities, subject to FAA certification.
Windows: Panoramic wrap around windows allowing forward, left, right visibility, for spectacular views with a solid roof above the passenger compartment
Wings: Foldable tandem wings
Tail: Two vertical stabilizers
Landing gear: Fixed quadricycle wheeled landing gear and used for ground transportation
Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers (or ducted fans) and motors on the aircraft so if one or more propellers (ducted fans) or motors fail, the other working propellers (or ducted fans) and motors can safely land the aircraft. There are also redundancies in the sub-systems of the aircraft. The aircraft has a whole aircraft emergency ballistic parachute.
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