Next-generation air taxi developer AutoFlight has released new video of an upgraded proof-of-concept version of its electric takeoff and landing (eVTOL) Prosperity I aircraft undergoing a new battery of test flights.
On Wednesday Shanghai-based AutoFlight shared the video of its revamped eVTOL proof-of-concept (POC#2) Prosperity I air taxi at work in the first of 30 successive test flights that began in April. The footage comes three months after the company’s first POC#1 flights. During the interim, AutoFlight developers tweaked the piloted craft’s lift-and-cruise configuration to enhance performance. Officials hope to have the definitive design of the plane ready by the third quarter of this year.
AutoFlight’s POC#2 version of the eVTOL air taxi uses improved lifting propellers to give Prosperity I higher hover efficiency. Two pushing propellors that were previously on either side of the air taxi were replaced with a single center propellor and twin motors to enhance cruising abilities. In addition to the pilot, Prosperity I is configured to carry up to three passengers over a maximum range of 250 km at cruising speeds of 200 km/h.
Development of Prosperity I is AutoFlight’s first foray into piloted eVTOL air taxi activity, having previously produced cargo drones, and one autonomous passenger craft. The company kicked its new program into higher gear last year by establishing a unit in Germany to oversee testing, and prepare certification procedures with European Union regulators.
AutoFlight recruited Mark R. Henning, a former Airbus executive and 26-year aviation industry veteran to oversee those efforts, which appear to have produced relatively quick results.
“POC#2 is a new milestone for us, and we are pleased to have achieved over 30 successful transitions in the last few weeks with a full-size aircraft,” Henning said. “This further demonstrates the great potential of our lift and cruise configuration which combines simplicity and safety. We will encompass all these key experiences and learnings into the final, full scale, design of Prosperity I which we will be revealing later this year.”
Earlier last year, the company got another boost in the form of a $100 million in investment from Berlin-based European tech company Team Global. AutoFlight hopes to continue swift development of Prosperity I in time to put the eVTOL air taxi into commercial service in 2026.