Australian flying car company AMSL Aero has launched a partnership with Careflight for an ‘electric aero ambulance’
The partnership could see the air ambulance service deploy electric rescue flights over the next few years, albeit initially flown by CareFlight pilots.
AMSL Aero, which was the launch tenant for Narromine’s Aerodrome precinct in North-Western NSW earlier this year, unveiled the electric air ambulance, ‘Vertiia’, at an event held at CareFlight’s hangar at Bankstown airport in Sydney on Wednesday.
The company’s four seater Vertiia plane, aimed to be available by 2023, is an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that can cruise at 300kph with a projected range of up to 250km under electric power or 800km when running on hydrogen.
Taking off and landing like a helicopter, the aircraft is intended to save time for passengers while providing a safe, zero carbon alternative to existing air travel.
Vertiia is the result of a $3 million federal government Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grant in partnership with the University of Sydney, Mission Systems and intellectual property commercialisation firm, the IP Group.
CEO of AMSL Aero, Andrew Moore, said “Vertiia will instantly enable greater access to medical services for vulnerable remote, rural, and regional communities, offering new models of care through rapid and low-cost connectivity.”
AMSL Aero was co-founded by Moore, a qualified Aeronautical Engineer and pilot, and Siobhan Lyndon, who came to the company after a decade in senior leadership roles with Google.
“Unlike aeromedical planes that require a runway, Vertiia will carry patients directly from any location straight to the hospital, significantly reducing the complexity and time transporting vulnerable patients,” said Moore.
“It will also be quieter and safer than helicopters, and will eventually cost as little as a car to maintain and run, transforming aeromedical transport into a far more affordable, accessible, safer, and reliable option.”
Vertiia is not the first Australian attempt at such a vehicle with Uber announcing earlier this year of a flying car project with trials to take place in a number of cities including Melbourne. However there has been little news about Uber’s project this year.
CareFlight CEO, Mick Frewen, added “the advances in aeromedical service capability Vertiia promises will transform patient outcomes in vulnerable regional and remote communities. The safe and efficient new technology will enable CareFlight to provide the best clinical care for more Australians than has ever been possible, and importantly, get them that vital help much faster.
“The advance would supercharge CareFlight’s ability to deliver on our mission: to save lives and speed recovery and serve the community.”
University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence, said “we are incredibly excited to be collaborating with AMSL Aero on the development of Vertiia, a technology which has the potential to rapidly decarbonise air travel and improve patient transport. Leading the project from the University of Sydney is Associate Professor Dries Verstraete and his team, who are deep experts in hydrogen fuel cell propulsion and multidisciplinary optimisation.”
Vertiia is currently being built at AMSL’s Bankstown Airport facility, with test flights to take place at its Narromine Airport base.