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Electric Vertical Take-off and Landing (eVTOL) Aircraft
News: The Government of India is exploring the possibility of inviting manufacturers of Electric Vertical Take-off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft to set up base in India.
• An eVTOL aircraft is one that uses electric power to hover, take off, and land vertically.
• Most eVTOLs also use what is called as distributed electric propulsion technology which means integrating a complex propulsion system with the airframe.
What are its features?
• In order to maximize efficiency, and to also ensure safety, there are multiple motors.
• This is technology that has grown on account of successes in electric propulsion based on progress in motor, battery, fuel cell and electronic controller technologies and also fuelled by the need for new vehicle technology that ensures Urban Air Mobility (UAM). Thus, eVTOL is one of the newer technologies and developments in the aerospace industry.
• There are an estimated 250 eVTOL concepts or more being fine-tuned to bring alive the concept of UAM. Some of these include the use of multi-rotors, fixed-wing and tilt-wing concepts backed by sensors, cameras and even radar.
• eVTOLs have been likened to a third wave in aerial revolution.
• Crash Prevention System - As the technology so far is a mix of unpiloted and piloted aircraft, the areas in focus include ‘crash prevention systems’. These use cameras, radar, GPS (Global Positioning System) and infrared scanners.
• Ensuring Safety - There are also issues such as ensuring safety in case of power plant or rotor failure. Aircraft protection from cyberattacks is another area of focus.
• Navigation – Navigation and flight safety and the use of technology when operating in difficult terrain, unsafe operating environments and also bad weather.
How much is its market valued?
• The global market for eVTOLs was put at USD8.5 million in 2021 and is to grow to USD30.8 million by 2030.
• The demand will be on account of green energy and noise-free aircraft, cargo carrying concepts and the need for new modes of transport.