Personal eVTOLs

The ancient man always dreamt of flying high in the skies. This dream became a reality when the Wright brothers invented an aircraft. Slowly, there was a transformation in air mobility. Now we have every kind of aircraft, like rockets, airplanes, fighter jets, and helicopters.

Nowadays, personal air vehicles are getting quite popular. These are small nifty electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles. These air vehicles have become one of the hottest things in the aviation industry, since the Wright Flyer aircraft.

eVTOL has many advantages over commercial helicopters. It is quieter, cleaner, and cheaper. These electrical taxis will also fulfill the air mobility needs of citizens in the near future. The popularity of eVTOLs has caught the attention of several aircraft designers around the world, like Airbus, Boeing and Bell Helicopter.

Many startups and famous companies are aiming to use these aircraft in urban areas. However, let us think out of the box and ask ourselves: If these aircraft can serve travel needs in urban areas, can they serve the rural areas too? Could these aircraft lift the economic conditions of people living outside the cities? More importantly, we should ask ourselves which out of the two is needed; urban air mobility (UAM) or rural air mobility (RAM).

Initially, the focus of 100 or more companies will be to fulfill the needs of urban citizens. If these air vehicles become successful, they would solve the problems of congestion and excessive traffic jams. The entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley want these air vehicles to be successful. They are the ones directly affected by traffic problems.

Just like there is a need for this technology in the urban areas, there is also a need for using it in rural areas. The people in rural areas suffer from many problems, which has led to a significant decrease in population and economic conditions. The rural area inhabitants are far away from quality health care. They are also far from universities and community colleges. They are also far away from knowledge-based desk jobs, or advanced jobs. There aren’t any brands or big markets in rural areas. Why would a company want to relocate its business in rural areas, when it is so far away from the city?

These problems show that there are many reasons to bring connectivity in rural areas. This is the reason that the U.S. Agricultural Department subsidizes more than $700 million annually to provide broadband in rural areas. Similarly, if the government wants, rural mobility could be part of a new infrastructure plan.

The government could expand the FAA’s air service program for small communities. They could include vertiports in towns and farms. The rural air mobility operation would be given service subsidies in the project. Due to this, they wouldn’t get short of money and leave the project.

RAM isn’t like a magic pill that will solve all economic problems of rural areas. However, it can be part of the solution. Flying these air vehicles in open spaces will also improve the technologies needed for denser airspace.

A major challenge of these eVTOLs is to move safely above the densely populated area. These air vehicles need to be quite reliable. If they crash, a big disaster would be inevitable. They also require an infrastructure with many landing pads. eVTOL manufacturing companies need to address these challenges before introducing these vehicles in urban areas.

Does the eVTOL capacity have the range to move through many rural counties? According to the designers of eVTOL, it can easily cover 300 km in 60 minutes.

All this seems like a far cry from reality right now. However, it is possible soon, if the U.S. Government gets actively involved in the project. I would recommend trying out RAM programs, along with UAM programs. The reason is that we need to uplift the rural economy quickly.