Revolution.Aero news: Ehang seeks funding, Bell and Carter Aviation

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As we draw closer to the proving years for VTOLs – the early years of the coming decade -- we are starting to see more manufacturers readying up for their aircraft to hit the market.

One of the first VTOLs to hit the market will be the Ehang 184. Whilst the company has been quiet these past few months, Ehang’s CFO Richard Liu gave an interview with CNBC this week saying that the company was ‘considering additional financing" in the lead up to the launch of the 184. He added that Ehang was in talks with another potential investor right now.

This comes shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy in America this May. However, Mr Liu said that Ehang is still on track to achieving profitability by 2019.

This falls in line with the commercial sale of the Ehang 184, which is scheduled to hit the market at the end of 2018 or early 2019.

Ehang has secured most of its funding through venture capital investment. Some of the company’s biggest investors include GP Capital, GGV Capital and ZhenFund.

When we spoke to Ehang’s CEO Derrick Xiong in June, Mr Xiong also said that the company was generating cash-flow from its existing hobby drone products.

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Bell partners with NASA

Yesterday, Bell revealed that it is partnering with NASA and a few other organisations to develop and demonstrate unmanned aircraft technologies.

Bell’s main role on the project will be designing and developing a new eVTOL concept called the APT70. Not much is known about the aircraft right now but it will be capable of rotation and translation in-flight, a top speed of more than 100mph, and have a payload of 70lbs.

Other partners on the project include aerospace engineering and software firm Xwing and the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the atmosphere (CASA).

Carter Concept

Texas aircraft manufacturer Carter Aviation has revealed an updated design for its new electric air-taxi prototype.

The aircraft, which is scheduled to fly on Uber’s air-taxi service when it eventually launches, is more reminiscent of the company's Carter Copter which was first registered in 1998.

Early specifications for the aircraft show a 175mph cruise speed, five-passenger capacity and inertia rotor which acts as a built-in parachute. The aircraft is fully electric powered, but the company is considering a hybrid-gas turbine variant to extend the aircraft’s range.

This is the first update we have had from the company since it partnered with Chinese-owned manufacturer Mooney International Corporation.

JETcopter tests

Moving to Europe, the German-based VTOL start-up company JETcopter will start propulsion system tests for its VTOL concept shortly.

The aircraft will be powered by two centrifugal air turbines in enclosed housings. The two 200cm turbines will be placed above the aircraft and will be contra-rotating to create thrust.

Right now, the company is open to investment and looks to draw more attention to the project with a full-scale model of the aircraft which will debut at AERO 2019 in April next year.

SkyRyse Systems

This week also saw helicopter tech start-up SkyRyse come out of stealth and reveal its AI flight system called the advanced pilot assistance system (APAS). The software is designed to lessen the workload on the pilot and reduce human error during flight.

Also, the company announced that it has raised $25 million in seed and Series A funding raised by Venrock and Eclipse, Stanford University, Industry Ventures, Trucks VC, Cantos and Engage Ventures.