Advanced Air Mobility and eVTOL: Vol. 2



Authors Abstract
Recent advancements of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft have generated significant interest within and beyond the traditional aviation industry, and many novel applications have been identified and are in development. One promising application for these innovative systems is in firefighting, with eVTOL aircraft complementing current firefighting capabilities to help save lives and reduce fire-induced damages. With increased global occurrences and scales of wildfires—not to mention the issues firefighters face during urban and rural firefighting operations daily—eVTOL technology could offer timely, on-demand, and potentially cost-effective aerial mobility capabilities to counter these challenges. Early detection and suppression of wildfires could prevent many fires from becoming large-scale disasters. eVTOL aircraft may not have the capacity of larger aerial assets for firefighting, but targeted suppression, potentially in swarm operations, could be valuable.
Most importantly, on-demand aerial extraction of firefighters can be a crucial benefit during wildfire control operations. Aerial firefighter dispatch from local fire stations or vertiports can result in more effective operations, and targeted aerial fire suppression and civilian extraction from high-rise buildings could enhance capabilities significantly.
There are some challenges that need to be addressed before the identified capabilities and benefits are realized at scale, including the development of firefighting-specific eVTOL vehicles; sense and avoid capabilities in complex, smoke-inhibited environments; autonomous and remote operating capabilities; charging system compatibility and availability; operator and controller training; dynamic airspace management; and vehicle/fleet logistics and support. Acceptance from both the first-responder community and the general public is also critical for the successful implementation of these new capabilities.
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Doo, J., McQueen, B., and Zhang, Y., "Advanced Air Mobility and eVTOL: Vol. 2," SAE Technical Paper EPRCOMPV322023, 2024,
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May 10
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