Detroit’s AirSpaceX Reveals Electric VTOL Aircraft at 2018 North American International Auto Show


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AirSpaceX in Detroit debuted an autonomous aircraft model at NAIAS 2018.

Photo Courtesy: AirSpaceX

Detroit-based Airspace Experience Technologies (AirSpaceX), a subsidiary of Detroit Aircraft Corp., has unveiled a sub-scale model of its autonomous electric VTOL aircraft, "MOBi-ONE," during the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) at Detroit’s Cobo Center.

MOBi-ONE, which will fly at a top speed of 250 miles per hour, is designed to autonomously takeoff like a helicopter, fly like a plane, and transport passengers or cargo between urban centers, suburbs, and airports within 60 miles.

The craft will leverage existing Electric Vehicle (EV) architecture and autonomous technologies. Development of the new class of aircraft is now possible due to recent advances in electric propulsion, automation, and lightweight materials.

“MOBi-ONE will offer clean, quiet, and connected on-demand air mobility to the mass traveling public at an affordable price,” says Jon Rimanelli, founder and CEO of Detroit Aircraft and AirSpaceX. “Our vision is to mass produce aircraft leveraging lean automotive design and mass production techniques so our vehicles are affordable to the mass traveling public.”

MOBi-ONE was designed and built by Detroit Aircraft at Detroit City Airport. AirSpaceX and Camilo Pardo, chief designer of the 2005 and 2006 Ford GT, teamed up on MOBi-ONE's design. In 2011, Pardo and Rimanelli began working together on prototyping and developing several VTOL concepts.

"Our goal is to deploy 2,500 aircraft at the nation's 50 largest cities by 2026, targeting existing infrastructure at first," says JP Yorro, chief commercial officer at AirSpaceX. "The MOBi development program will be capital intensive, but air Mobility as a Service could generate billions for the economy. We are considering a broad array of financing options, including potential fractional ownership interest and profit sharing models.”

Upon completion of engineering packages, a full-scale aircraft will be manufactured, undergo the FAA’s Part 27 Certification, and be operated by AirSpaceX. Through January 21, the sub-scale MOBi-ONE is on display at Cobo Center in Detroit as part of the AutoMobili-D Technology Showcase at NAIAS. 

“There is an urgent need for innovation in urban mobility, and I believe on-demand air mobility will go a long way toward reducing pressure on roads while improving the quality of life for commuters on the ground,” adds Rimanelli.      

Detroit Aircraft was founded in 2011 to design pilot-optional aircraft systems for military and commercial applications. Since that time, the company has designed and licensed a series of multi-rotor aircraft for commercial data collection and package delivery.

In addition, Detroit Aircraft provided contract manufacturing, testing, marketing, sales, training, and MRO for a leading U.S. Defense Contractor, and has built more than 70 small electric VTOL aircraft since 2013.

In 2015, the company identified an automotive EV architecture making large-scale multi-rotor aircraft feasible for cargo and passenger transportation. AirSpaceX, a subsidiary of Detroit Aircraft, was founded to fund manufacturing and certification of MOBi-ONE.

For more information, email Jon Rimanelli at jr@detroitaircraft.com.

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