An Australian company has popped out of stealth mode to reveal a new electric VTOL aircraft that is already at the pre-flight prototype stage. AMSL Aero’s Vertiia aircraft can fly up to 800 km (500 miles) on hydrogen, and it’ll start out as an air ambulance.
The Vertiia has been developed in conjunction with the University of Sydney and autonomy and sensor specialists Mission Systems. It’s a transitioning multirotor, with eight large props mounted on two wide carbon fiber poles extending from the upper tail and lower front of a slim, pod-shaped cabin. These props have the ability to tilt from pointing vertically upward for takeoff, hover and landing, to fully horizontal in cruise flight. Having eight of them provides a decent level of redundancy in case something fails.
Small wings are attached to the backsides of the props, tilting in unison with the props so they don’t block airflow, and once a certain speed is reached, this box wing configuration will allow efficient winged flight. AMSL says the aircraft is rated to cruise at around 300 km/h (186 mph) and it’ll be piloted on debut, but will have autonomous capabilities built in, ready to come online when such things become legal.