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Start-up of the Week: Odys Aviation and UAE’s ‘Zero-Carbon Air Travel’ dream

IFM_Odys Aviation
With an all-electric range of 200 miles and a total hybrid-electric range of 750 miles, the Odys aircraft will reduce carbon footprints for airlines and passengers alike

Los Angeles-based Odys Aviation is right now developing a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, using hybrid-electric technology, thus aiming to revolutionise the next step in commercial aviation by cutting travel times in half while significantly reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.

The venture, established in 2019, has established its expertise in developing hybrid-electric aircraft for both regional distances and short-haul ‘air taxi’ routes.

Let’s Enter The World Of Odys

Odys Aviation’s VTOL uses a hybrid-electric propulsion system, which consists of conventional gas turbines and all-electric battery-based hydraulics, thus resulting in a sustainable VTOL with a total range of 750 miles, which, flown by two pilots, can carry nine passengers at a 345 mph speed.

This hybrid-electric VTOL offers range, speed, and passenger capacity to service over 52% of US domestic air routes.

“Other eVTOL aircraft utilize tilting fans and rotors to generate lift. However, the aerodynamics involved with transitioning between vertical lift and forward flight causes immense challenges. That’s why we use flap-based thrust vectoring as the primary mechanism for lift generation. The flap-based vertical take-off system directs thrust from the rotors downward. Pair that design with box wings, and we can generate impressive pitch authority and stability while hovering,” the company commented.

The eVTOL’s optimal balance between performance and sustainability is achieved by its high-capacity batteries and power-generating turbine.

“With an all-electric range of 200 miles and a total hybrid-electric range of 750 miles, the Odys aircraft will reduce carbon footprints for airlines and passengers alike,” the venture stated.

With 200 miles of all-electric flight and 750 miles of total hybrid range, the Odys’ VTOL enables substantial, practical CO2 reductions of 76% compared to regional jets. As per the venture, No other electric aircraft project can provide the same environmental impact and savings.

“We are creating the blueprint for sustainable air travel. Our aircraft is capable of completing 52% of US domestic air routes. Yet, it produces roughly 76% less greenhouse gas emissions than a commercial, regional jet. On flights less than 200 miles, it can run on pure electric battery power to produce zero emissions. That’s a game-changer that will reduce the airline industry’s impact on the environment a great deal,” it said further.

The Concept Called ‘Advanced Air Mobility’

“At Odys Aviation, we are building a more efficient means of air transportation utilizing advanced technology and sustainable aircraft. Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) isn’t a far-off concept or a product of science fiction. We’re here to make it a reality,” the start-up described its project in these words.

Odys is currently developing transformational vertical take-off and landing aircraft that will move both people and cargo.

Current air travel is dependent on aeroplanes that produce almost a billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, apart from bringing other problems like increasing spending on infrastructure developments, congested airports and inefficient travel corridors.

Odys Aviation’s hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft will have the range to cover 52% of current American domestic air routes and many more globally. The vertical take-off and landing capabilities of the aircraft, along with its lower emissions, will replace the gas turbine commercial aircraft in the coming days. With a range of up to 750 miles, the aircraft surpasses the average 60-mile range of air taxis in the electric vertical take-off space.

“A critical component of Advanced Air Mobility is equitable, sustainable, convenient access for all travellers. With revolutionary flight-path optionality, our aircraft makes it possible to connect cities and communities that are not serviced today, benefiting passengers and airlines alike,” Odys commented.

The flight-path optionality of the Odys VTOL, apart from opening up new opportunities with efficient point-to-point routes, will also create new and convenient route options for passengers and operators, thus decongesting airport slots further.

The Odys hybrid-electric VTOL can perform fully electric flights for up to 200 miles. After that, the hybrid-electric propulsion will provide an additional range of 550 miles, while reaching up to 30,000 feet of altitude, with a max speed of 345 miles per hour.

Sustainable In All Sense

Odys’ aircraft will have a propulsion system will be similar to the ones in hybrid cars, storing electricity in batteries and achieving flight with all-electric operations. The system will use electric-only propulsion on short distances and for longer routes, will switch to an aviation turbine. The aircraft will also reduce emissions by as much as 76% on a per-passenger mile basis compared to regional jets. While these short-haul flights will be done on a zero-emission basis, opting for air travel in it will also result in the passenger skipping road travel, thereby further reducing the carbon footprint on the ground as well.

These VTOL aircraft will eliminate carbon emissions on short-range flights fewer than 200 miles, while longer missions will use either sustainable aviation fuel or jet fuel. Even in that scenario, Odys has promised to produce 76% less CO2 on 300-mile routes.

While traditional aircraft often reach 140 decibels of noise during take-off, the Odys aircraft can take off and land with the electric-only operation and will be mostly quieter. It won’t require thousands of feet of runway space either, as it will use helicopter pads and vertiports.

And Odys Is Betting Big On UAE

The venture has secured funding from Uber Elevate co-founder Nikhil Goel, Soma Capital, Kyle Vogt, Pedram Keyani, Brogan BamBrogan, Countdown Capital, and Y Combinator.

And now Odys enters the UAE market, with an aim of delivering ‘Made in UAE’ air taxis, and electric aircraft by 2027.

The start-up has officially joined UAE’s ‘NextGen FDI’ program, an initiative that supports pioneering businesses in high-potential sectors.

Given the fact that Odys’ aircraft will deliver all-electric propulsion for 320km, with a hybrid-electric range of over 1,200km, it has the potential to reduce carbon emissions on pan-GCC air travel by up to 76%, apart from providing a zero-carbon travel alternative across the UAE.

The California-based start-up plans to launch a full-scale prototype of its product in 2025, with the aircraft eyeing to enter into the service in 2027.

Odys will reportedly be able to set up a regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi, which will include an assembly and maintenance plant, thus creating over 2,000 jobs in the Emirates and facilitating the export of the first aircraft manufactured under the ‘Made in the UAE’ certification.

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