Headquarters: A³, pronounced A cubed, is the Silicon Valley arm of French aerospace giant Airbus.
What: Several eVTOL concepts are in development. As of early 2019, the one-person electric Vahana Alpha One had flown more than 50 test flights. The second aircraft, Alpha Two, is the first Vahana demonstrator with a finished interior.
The company’s all-electric, four-person CityAirbus demonstrator conducted its first test flight in May 2019.
Its single-person VTOL Alpha One octocopter—tested at the Pendleton UAS Test Range in Oregon—achieved a one-minute flight that used just 8 percent of its battery system’s power. The company is working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to determine how its new aircraft design—which blends different aspects of helicopters and planes—can be certified, as its design differs greatly from existing aircraft. Currently, VTOL developers apply to the FAA for an experimental aircraft certificate, which allows companies to fly their aircraft but not to carry the public in them.
When: Airbus aims to have a demonstrator that could go into production as early as 2020.