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City Airbus demonstrates ambition to power the Urban Air Mobility market
Monday, 20 December 2021

The CityAirbus eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) has successfully completed its flight-testing programme. This important and fruitful collaboration with Airbus in which a Rolls-Royce all-electric propulsion system powered the aircraft achieved all the major technical and performance milestones needed to advance the technology.

The all-electric octocopter was designed to carry up to four passengers at a maximum speed of 75 miles per hour as part of a technology demonstrator programme that could help shape future travel within cities. For acoustic control and a quieter flight, the eight propellers were rotated at low speed of less than 1000 rpm.

"Seeing the CityAirbus flying, the very first take-off and then the very first landing and the happiness that I felt, this was magic! Flight after flight, we experienced so much. These are incredible learnings which will accelerate the Urban Air Mobility market." stated Gabriele Teofili - Head of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Business Area - Rolls-Royce Electrical.

During the programme, we completed over 105 ground and flight tests at altitudes up to 100ft and speeds of 30 knots on the propulsion and power distribution systems. The performance of our technology throughout testing has been outstanding with 100% flights without any technical or performance concerns.

A Rolls-Royce Electrical team in Munich, Germany developed the electric propulsor comprising a 200kW electric motor and associated power electronics, controller and the power protection and distribution system to generate, distribute and manage the required high electro-mechanical torque. This was then, converted into a tremendous thrust via the platform propellers at low speed. Gabriele added: "We were extremely proud of the development of the first electric motor from scratch to delivery in 9 months and 19 days."

A key element of this programme was the collaboration between Rolls-Royce and Airbus at the development stage ensuring we could define the aircraft and its power and propulsion needs efficiently and effectively.

This project has also demonstrated to us the importance of a system integration design at an early stage, reinforced the need for a simple and safe architecture on a system level and the need for continuous data validation and digital twin technology. This was crucial particularly for the ground-testing phase. These tests are an important step in the journey to certification proving reliability for our technology.

A key part of the project success was the people. Gabriele said: "Our team was brilliant; they were fast, and they were bold! They were working altogether in different competencies, different faculties, working in a giant development style and together with Airbus they produced this incredible success."

The information we have gained on this programme has been invaluable and we are now applying that capability to our technology including our first UAM customer Vertical Aerospace. We continue to be the leading supplier of all-electric and hybrid electric propulsion and power systems across multiple aviation markets.

Finally, Gabriele Teofili stated: "We are full of confidence, full of trust to project ourselves to the next step. Delivering certified products to Urban Air Mobility Customers, I am proud to be contributing at the birth of the Urban Air Mobility Market."

Contact details from our directory:
Rolls-Royce Deutschland Electric Motors, Electric Engines, Turbofan Engines, Inverters, Power Distribution Equipment
Airbus Helicopters Airframer
Related aircraft programs:
Airbus CityAirbus
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