NASA begins test of air taxis to decongest roads

NASA  began test flights of electric aircraft vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL), known colloquially as “air taxi.”

The US space agency NASA began testing an Electric Vertical Take-off and Landing Plane ( eVTOL ) that will serve as an air taxi to decongest roads and provide faster service to users.

NASA announced that tests on the eVTOL of the aviation company Joby began last Monday near Big Sur (California) and will last until 10 September.

In the future, these planes could serve as air taxis for those in cities and surrounding areas across the country, adding another mode of transportation to move people and goods, NASA said in a statement Tuesday.

In addition to air taxis, this system could include aircraft such as parcel delivery drones and medical transport vehicles.

The agency will collect information on how the vehicle moves, sounds, and communicates with the drivers.

Decongest the roads

This is the first time that NASA has tested an eVTOL aircraft as part of that federal agency’s National Advanced Air Mobility Campaign (AAM).

The objective is to collect acoustic and vehicle performance data and is also a step towards more complex flight tests with other vehicles in the industry by 2022.

This test will help identify gaps in current US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and policies to help incorporate these types of aircraft into the National Airspace System.

The event campaign to promote airspace mobility in the country will be held in multiple locations over several years.

The test is “an important strategic step in NASA’s goals to accelerate the AAM industry schedule,” said Davis Hackenberg, NASA’s integration manager for that mission.

“These test scenarios will help inform gaps in current standards to benefit the industry’s progress in integrating AAM vehicles into airspace,” he added.

This campaign “is critical to driving scientific understanding and public acceptance of eVTOL aircraft,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation.

The team will also test NASA’s airworthiness and flight safety processes to approve participants to travel as part of the campaign.

The AAM National Campaign is managed by NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility project, which plans to be a community catalyst to develop and validate transportation solutions.