This week Singularity Hub features an article written by Andrew J. Hawkins on The Verge website, detailing the massive achievement of Joby Aviation, a Northern California-based electric aviation company that just released a remarkable video of his six-rotor aircraft completing an impressive 240 km flight.
This small five-seater plane that takes off and lands horizontally, establishes one of the longest electric airplane flights ever carried out.
Although the distance is not as great as that of any commercial aircraft, it is within the flights classified as regional, and they lay the foundations for, as battery technology advances, these distances can increase exponentially.
The distance covered is equivalent to a trip between Seattle and Vancouver, or from Los Angeles to San Diego, the kind of regional trip that regional partners make hundreds of times a day to major airlines.
Swapping those polluting planes for a zero-emission plane like Joby’s could be an important step towards reducing CO2 emissions.
Joby Aviation is backed by Toyota and recently acquired Uber’s flying taxi division; It has said it plans to have a large-scale air taxi service in operation by 2024, including regional travel. The goal of the 240km flight was to demonstrate how far your aircraft could fly on a single charge, to allay concerns about the vehicle’s range and battery.
This element is crucial in the achievement of the flight of this aircraft, since the same weight of a battery required to take off an aircraft, competes with the weight of normal fuel that provides 43 times more energy, which dimensions the extraordinary of this achievement.
And this objective was widely met, let’s just imagine the potential of this type of service as an alternative transport in cities with high volume of traffic and highly polluted.
Joby’s plane flew in a 14-mile circle 11 times, for a total flight time of one hour and 17 minutes.
It’s an impressive feat, given the challenges of electric flight.
And there are many more to come, which we will see in the next five years. _