SAE Blog Text

eVTOL Expert Gives Insight into Public Service Vertical Flight Technologies

Posted: April 29, 2024

In an emergency situation, a few seconds can mean the difference between life or death.

But often in these crucial moments, on-road vehicles can encounter difficulties reaching a patient or an accident, costing that precious time. With the evolution of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL), though, mobility engineers are working on a solution to get that time back.

President of International Vehicle Research Inc. and co-chair of Transformative Vertical Flight Public Service Working Group, Johnny Doo recently published "The Use of eVTOL Aircraft for First Responder, Police, and Medical Transport Applications" to discuss the challenges that need to be addressed for eVTOL before these lifesaving capabilities can be widely applied.

The SAE Edge Report covers one of five categories in a multi-part series that covers the different applications of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in the public service sector.

“This topic is particularly dear to me, and I have a strong passion about what this can bring to the table,” Johnny said. “eVTOL can bypass ground traffic, which is great, because one of the biggest challenges for emergency first responders is to get to the scene in a timely manner. There’s a small window to stabilize a patient with say, a cardiac arrest, and achieve a positive outcome. If we can shorten transport time by even just a few minutes, it makes a huge difference in these types of cases,” Johnny said.

Johnny learned how to pilot an eVTOL himself to better assess the state of development. While he mentioned that his main concern with eVTOL revolves around training enough pilots, the technology available has left him with high hopes.

“If I can fly one myself, then I would say that 98% of first responders should have no problem. I was ready to go with a 20-minute presentation, followed by 20 minutes of flight training via a stationary simulator. The eVTOL had a geofence, so I could only fly so high within a certain area, and was also self-stabilizing. I even stuck my arms outside the cockpit to demonstrate how safe it was,” Johhny said.

Johnny emphasized that eVTOL technologies operate at a very high level of stability and user intuitiveness. He also noted that emergency eVTOL applications can be expected to happen in a year or two.

“We’re working with a number of EMS operations and fire departments to evaluate a series of trial runs. We’re looking for feedback on what helps them best. The technology is already here, now we just have to implement it,” Johnny said.

As he and his colleagues continue to find the most effective ways to provide eVTOL technologies to emergency responders, Johhny hopes to see widespread applications within the next five years.

“If our work helps save one life, it's all worth it,” Johhny said.

"The Use of eVTOL Aircraft for First Responder, Police, and Medical Transport Applications" is available now on Mobilus.

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