A flurry of aviation startups have challenged our current air mobility system and are introducing urban air mobility (UAM) to more people. Embraer, Bell, Brazil, & Uber Elevate are a few innovating in this fast-paced new industry.
LABACE Shows Embraer’s UAM Future — the EmbraerX
The Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (LABACE) is over and heads are spinning. Or is it propellers? It’s fair to say that the limelight is on Uber Elevate, the UAM arm of Uber that wants to commercialize eVTOL operations using its Uber Air ridesharing program.
So far, 6 partners have joined, Embraer with its EmbraerX, Bell with the Nexus we saw and covered earlier this year, the Aurora Flight Sciences (now Boeing) personal air vehicle , the Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, Karem Aircraft, and finally, Jaunt Air Mobility.
Embraer says EmbraerX “is a market accelerator committed to developing solutions that transform life’s experiences.” The company showed the Latin American market its eVTOL UAM plans. Its EmbraerX market accelerator has been working on the company’s DreamMaker eVTOL project. It is reaching out to the public at large for brand name suggestions. I voted for Enterprise.
Embraer Keeping EmbraerX Under Tight Lid
Embraer hasn’t released much more on the EmbraerX, basically just an estimated timeline for its service entry, apparently by 2030.
In order to understand Embraer’s reluctance on sharing details of the EmbraerX’s performance, taking a few steps back to see the bigger picture helps see where the company is coming from. Embraer went through some turmoil in the past several years. After a bit of positive progress, it then had to let go of its historically most profitable commercial aviation division, which grossed 80% of its sales, and sell it to Boeing.
In other recent news, Embraer is also working on a fixed-wing electric airplane prototype, and it announced its Praetor 500 midsize business jet was granted a Type Certificate by Brazil’s Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC—Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil) — but it’s not electric.
Embraer & Bell At LABACE
As mentioned earlier, Embraer is soliciting the public to help name its eVTOL EmbraerX. Also present was Bell. As you might recall, we covered its new eVTOL Bell Nexus this year at CES, where the company brought a full-scale model. The company is still showing off the concept at shows around the world. It was designed to adopt a fully electric powertrain as soon as battery energy density shrinks enough. It can host a pilot plus 4 passengers or can accommodate other transport capacities, such as medical or simply cargo.
You’ll notice some similarities between the Bell Nexus and the EmbraerX in the cockpit design, but that’s where it stops. Embraer differentiates its powerplant layout with 4 rows of 8 fans, aft and behind the cockpit area.
Uber Elevate, Embraer, Bell & The Rest Of The UAM Crowd
It’s fascinating to watch the birth of an industry with barely maturing technology that will take flight in a decade happen before our very eyes. Of course, armchair generals and keyboard jockeys will find ways to split hairs on this yet-to-commercialize urban air mobility technology. Better to watch and see who puts their resources into creating our UAM future in the long run.