The Safety Of Future Electric Air Taxis Is In The Hands Of Costa Ricans

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    The idea that the animated series The Jetsons raised to us of having flying cars that were parked vertically to move us is getting closer and closer, and a group of Costa Rican engineers will be the people in charge of ensuring that these trips have the highest standards of security.

    Joby Aviation is developing a four-passenger, fully electric aircraft that can take off and land vertically, with a flight range of up to 240 km and a maximum speed of 300 km/h. The idea is to use them as air taxis and to step into the forefront of global mobility.

    To develop this project, the company contacted the company Avionyx, based in Costa Rica for more than 16 years, to be in charge of carrying out the software verification of air taxis. This to obtain the safety certification of the American Federal Aviation Agency (FAA).

    “In aviation, there are different types of certifications before the FAA. It can be certified as a small or cargo plane and, although Joby had the possibility of certifying as one of these, he decided to do it as a traditional plane, that is, one of the highest levels. Which means that Joby is in search of the highest standards of air safety so that people feel confident in the system and are encouraged to use it for their daily trips,”explained the project manager and Avionyx spokesperson, José Pablo Segura. This decision means that the work carried out by Avionyx to verify the systems has to be very exhaustive and rigorous.

    Software verification

    “Logistically it is like that, we have what we call the software life cycle. So first the software is planned, designed, the code is created as seen in the Matrix, verified and subsequently sent for certification. For the industry, security is very important, so the verification period could be said to be the longest. Running all the tests, updating and fixing the software so that it becomes certifiable takes time, because we are working with the entire ship”, Segura commented.

    An example of this work could be to verify that the system does not allow going at a certain speed if a certain height has not yet been reached. So the engineers are tasked with looking at all the ways the system could fail and prevent this from happening.

    What are eVTOLS?

    The ships are known as eVTOLS (Electrical Vertical Take Off Landing, for its acronym in English), in Spanish Electric Vertical Clearance Landing. It’s easy to imagine it, it has the shape of a giant drone and its operation is quite similar.bnThe first full-scale prototypes began to fly in 2017 and so far more than 1,000 tests have been carried out.

    The plan is for it to be used for routes that are usually congested mainly in metropolitan areas. But in Costa Rica it can be used perfectly to travel to Guanacaste. It will be a faster, greener and quieter way to travel. They estimate that the cost of a ride will be roughly the same as an Uber ride.

    “It is a project that we are very proud to be working on and that is definitely going to change the way we fly. It becomes the forefront of eVTOLS. This model is going to arrive and people are going to start using it and other companies are going to come from there and generate a whole market of eVTOLS. Who can deny that in 10-15 years we can buy our own and have our own flying car?” said Segura.

    The future of daily air mobility is very close and many Costa Rican personnel will be in charge of making this happen.
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