Despite COVID-19, eVTOL Avionics Development Forges Ahead
May 24, 2021
Published in Avionics International
Written by Frank Wolfe
While the COVID-19 pandemic has put a crimp in aviation worldwide, avionics development for future electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) applications has forged ahead.
Rick Hearn, the product manager for safety-certifiable solutions for Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions, believes that “the good news for commercial off-the-shelf [COTS] vendors is that the same size, weight, and power (SWaP)-optimized solutions they’ve been actively fielding in recent years to address various design assurance levels (DALs) of D0-254 safety-certifiable hardware requirements for manned and unmanned airborne platforms are also well-positioned to meet the needs of eVTOL vehicles.”
“For COTS vendors, the eVTOL market holds great potential, since these platforms will require a number of subsystems that can be addressed early on with existing safety-certifiable COTS products,” according to Hearn. “These autonomously piloted vehicles also will find use in military environments, as they can reduce the number of personnel at risk during flight while eliminating the significant noise of a helicopter’s rotating blades. The avionics requirements of these platforms provide a range of opportunities for system designers, including systems for flight control computer (FCC), automated mission management (AMM), detect and avoid (DAA), terrain awareness warning system (TAWS), CVR/FDR flight recorders, battery management, and propulsion.”
Hearn said that “COTS vendors already have reliable and proven MIL-class safety-certifiable solutions that UAM developers can use to start prototyping right away.”