Artist rendering of the futuristic CityHawk VTOL car from Urban AeronauticsMetro Skyways.

Metro Skyways Ltd. (MSL), a subsidiary of Israel’s Urban Aeronautics company is set to embark on a five-year development of the CityHawk – an optionally-autonomous flying car. Urban Aeronautics’ CEO Rafi Yoeli told Defense-Update his company is seeking to fund the current flight demonstrator phase, or the entire five-year program, that will result in the completion design, development, and testing of a VTOL aircraft built exclusively for civilian use in the personal aerial vehicle, Air-Taxi and Air-Rescue sectors.

The CityHawk design will fully comply with civil aviation safety certification standards for land and air mobility. MSL plans to complete the development in five years. The vehicle will initially be piloted and powered by jet fuel, but for the long run, it is designed from the start for robotic operation and propulsion by liquid hydrogen. The vehicle will be able to carry 700 bars compressed hydrogen, once such options become commercially feasible. One of the safety features on board will be a rocket-deployed parachute, to bring the vehicle down safely should an in-flight critical event occurs.

[nonmember]The four-passenger, Vertical-Takeoff, and Landing (VTOL), the flying vehicle will be based on Urban Aeronautics’ internal rotor, Fancraft technology that has been proven in the Cormorant unmanned aerial vehicle that has already logged more than 200 flight hours in testing.

Subscribe to read the full report[/nonmember] [ismember] CityHawk’s future, groundbreaking hydrogen power may rely on the direct feed of hydrogen into a state-of-the-art (FAA/EASA certified) turboshaft engine as an alternative to fuel cells, power conditioners, cables and electric motors. This direct and compact conversion of hydrogen into shaft power, combined with UrbanAero’s unique Fancraft™ aerodynamics, makes CityHawk’s unique size and passenger capacity possible while keeping a FAA/EASA certified primary power unit at the ‘heart of the machine’.

While CityHawk will initially be piloted by a human pilot, the vehicle’s flight control and flight management systems will be capable of a high degree of autonomy from the outset. The technology is being developed and tested on Tactical Robotics’ Cormorant prototype which already flies fully autonomously. As the technology of autonomy and regulatory infrastructure mature, CityHawk will eventually transport passengers robotically.

MSL will develop the CityHawk under a license to utilize UrbanAero’s 39 patents covering all aspects of Fancraft technology. CityHawk will be designed to meet FAA/EASA certification standards for manned VTOL aircraft.

Metro Skyways Ltd was established by Urban Aeronautics in 2013 to focus exclusively on developing Fancraft for the manned, civil market. The development of CityHawk draws on UrbanAero’s experience in developing and flight testing its one ton, unmanned Cormorant that is being developed by the company’s second subsidiary, Tactical Robotics Ltd. CityHawk will be similar to Cormorant in shape and size. Cormorant has so far accumulated in excess of 200 flight tests.

CityHawk is unique in combining a compact, car-sized design that has a four-passenger capacity, no exposed rotors or wings, no batteries and potential for zero carbon emissions. Hydrogen’s only byproduct is pure H2O. Perhaps most critical is that CityHawk achieves these groundbreaking qualities while meeting all design criteria that are the basis for eventual FAA/EASA certification. This paves the way for true, unrestricted commercial viability.

Metro Skyways, a subsidiary of Urban Aeronautics, is a pioneer in developing manned, internal-rotor, VTOL aircraft based on UrbanAero’s proprietary Fancraft technology. [/ismember]

CityHawk – artist concept – by Metro Skyways – Urban Aeronautics