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Coming to Terms: “Levels of Autonomy” is Unsound

Coming to Terms: “Levels of Autonomy” is Unsound

  • 21 Dec 2020 09:26 AM
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Autonomy, among the hottest topics in aviation today, lacks a clear and agreed-upon definition, though a consensus is emerging.

Multiple aviation “level of autonomy” scales have been put forward, such as Autonomy Levels for Unmanned Systems (ALFUS) by US government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). But the adjective “autonomous” is binary: either an actor (person or system) performs a task autonomously or it has supervision.

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Leadership Moves: Vertiflite Jan-Feb 2021

Leadership Moves: Vertiflite Jan-Feb 2021

  • 21 Dec 2020 09:06 AM
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On Nov. 19, Munich-based Lilium announced that it has appointed Geoffrey Richardson — previously the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the autonomous car company Cruise — as its CFO. Based in San Francisco, Richardson has more than 20 years of proven expertise in international finance, mergers and acquisition, fundraising and operations.

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VFS Invites Sponsors for Student Competition

VFS Invites Sponsors for Student Competition

  • 20 Dec 2020 06:47 PM
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The Vertical Flight Society has launched its inaugural VFS Design-Build-Vertical Flight (DBVF) Student Competition. This 20 lb (9 kg) eVTOL competition seeks to encourage interest in unmanned aircraft technology, and small air vehicle design and fabrication. The Army Research Lab (ARL) is the host of the fly-off taking place April 16-17 between schools from around the world.

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eSTOL Updates

eSTOL Updates

  • 20 Dec 2020 06:27 PM
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California-based Metro Hop, Inc., announced on Nov. 30 that its newly formed German division, Metro Hop Technik GMBH, had been awarded a grant from the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC). Metro Hop has been developing an all-electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft (shown) with its patented “Active Landing Gear” system, used to accelerate the plane to flight speed on takeoff and decelerate the plane after landing.

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eCTOL Updates

eCTOL Updates

  • 20 Dec 2020 06:27 PM
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Tecnam has partnered with Rolls-Royce to develop a nine-passenger eCTOL aircraft called the P-Volt, the Italian aircraft company announced on Oct. 23. The two companies are already collaborating on a hybrid-electric version of its four-seat Tecnam P2010 Traveller.

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GoFly Announcement

GoFly Announcement

  • 20 Dec 2020 06:27 PM
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The article, “GoFly Teams Prepare to Fly Again,” in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of Vertiflite, highlighted the 21 teams that came to the GoFly Final Fly Off on Feb. 29 and their status during the COVID-19 pandemic. As expected, GoFly announced its approach to continue the competition on Nov. 12: “Given the global pandemic, GoFly has adjusted its format to reflect this new normal. While the Grand Prize remains $1,000,000, we will now provide for an individual team demonstration rather than a large event gathering.

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Varon Skyscrapers for Latin America

Varon Skyscrapers for Latin America

  • 20 Dec 2020 06:23 PM
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In December, Miami, Florida-based Varon Vehicles hosted a virtual summit called “Skyscraper 2020: The requirements for Urban Air Mobility for Latin America.” Varon Vehicles is supporting the AAM ecosystem to bring together global stakeholders to work on the unique requirements for Latin America, targeted towards implementation of its disruptive infrastructure networks, beginning in Columbia.

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CityAirbus Moves Cities

CityAirbus Moves Cities

  • 20 Dec 2020 06:17 PM
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Airbus Helicopters moved its four-seat CityAirbus eVTOL demonstrator at the end of August from its plant in Donauwörth 35 miles (55 km) east to its development test center at Ingolstadt-Manching Airfield, both north of Munich in Southern Germany.

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Half-Scale Samad e-Starling Takes Off

Half-Scale Samad e-Starling Takes Off

  • 20 Dec 2020 06:14 PM
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On Nov. 30, Bedfordshire, UK-based Samad Aerospace announced the successful electric conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) first flight of its half-scale e-Starling prototype. The aircraft flew at 90 mph (145 km/h) for five minutes, setting the groundwork for eVTOL tests flights in 2021.

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Vertiia Comes Together for Good

Vertiia Comes Together for Good

  • 20 Dec 2020 06:09 PM
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Sydney, Australia-based AMSL Aero was founded in June 2017 by Andrew Moore (AM) and Siobhan Lyndon (SL). The group has flown 1/5-scale models and has now unveiled its full-scale eVTOL tilt-propeller demonstrator. 

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