China’s Autoflight successfully completes first flight of autonomous V1500M eVTOL aircraft

China’s Autoflight successfully completes first flight of autonomous V1500M eVTOL aircraft

Autoflight, a high-tech company that has specialization in autonomous eVTOL (Electric Vertical Take-off & Landing) vehicles, has announced that it has successfully completed the first flight of its all-electric V1500M aircraft. The four-passenger V1500M eVTOL aircraft is equipped with high-tech autonomous features, and it can fly 250 km (roughly 156 miles) on a single full charge. The manufacturer stated that the V1500M eVTOL is a fully-electric aerial vehicle that can be used to transport up to four passengers along with up to 3,300 pounds of luggage through autonomous pilot navigation.

The body of the electric aircraft has been built of carbon fiber, which is a lightweight material. It carries 10 electric motors and the same number of propellers that have been mounted safely above the cabin. The unique position of the electric motors and propellers enables the V1500M to stand out other eVTOLs unveiled by other manufacturers in the past few quarters. It utilizes two rear pusher propellers for making forward flight. The pushers are powerful enough to deliver a cruise speed of up to 200 km/h (roughly 124 mph).

For smooth landing, the autonomous electric aircraft depends on four legs, rather than retractable wheeled landing gear. The unique design not only reduced the complexity of the aircraft but also kept it weight as well as overall production cost in control.

Following the successful flight tests, Autoflight is now planning to move toward large-scale production of the autonomous electric eVTOL. The manufacturer also revealed that it has plans to start fixed-wing conversion testing of the V1500M eVTOL. It is to verify successful conversion of the autonomous aircraft between its rotary and fixed-wing flight modes.

Founded five years ago by Tian Yu in Shanghai, Autoflight is now preparing to get certification for the innovative eVTOL from concerned Chinese authorities. It hopes to receive airworthiness certification by 2024.

Autoflight came into existence as a Research & Development (R&D) specialist with special focus on autonomous eVTOL technology. Actually, it evolved from a consumer drone business called Yuneec, which was also established by Tian Yu.

In September this year, the company announced a successful Series-A funding round, in which it received $100 million in funds from early investors. It was the largest Series-A funding for an eVTOL company until XPeng’s HT Aero announced a record-setting funding of $500 million in October this year.