Airbus has announced the selection of Eaton and Crouzet to provide the electrical power distribution (EPDS) and the human-machine interface for CityAirbus NextGen.
Airbus believes the providers’ valuable experience in electrical power management and flight deck controls will ensure the seamless integration of the two subsystems into the prototype’s architecture. Additionally, as key contributors to the aircraft’s performance levels, reliability, and safety, the two parts will have an important impact on the vehicle’s capabilities.
Stefan Hedtstück, Head of UAM procurement at Airbus, said: “Eaton and Crouzet bring a unique mix of aviation expertise to our journey with CityAirbus NextGen. From full electrification to advanced ways of piloting, they are key partners in our mission to develop the features that will make our eVTOL a true game-changer for air mobility.”
As the provider of CityAirbus NextGen’s electrical power distribution system, Eaton has mobilized its teams to create an optimal solution to deliver electrical power from the Airbus-designed batteries to CityAirbus NextGen’s eight electrical power units. The power distribution system ensures that the eVTOL is flying safely, by compensating for any reduction of battery performance in flight. Leveraging the company’s extensive experience in electrification for the aviation industry, Eaton is designing, analysing and manufacturing the power distribution unit to be fully integrated within the electrical propulsion system of the Airbus’ prototype.
Tyler Ford, General Manager Engine Solutions and Electrification, at Eaton said: “We designed a high voltage, intelligent solution for the eVTOL’s electrical power distribution system in line with CityAirbus NextGen’s architecture. The use of the latest generation electronic and protective components plays an important part in this endeavour.”
This also applies to Crouzet, who will equip CityAirbus NextGen’s flight deck with the piloting control device. Benefitting from extensive experience in flight deck controls, the electromechanical and electronic components company has developed a whole new human-machine interface concept that complies with the most stringent requirements for size, weight and safety, the pilot will manage the trajectory of the vehicle rather than the attitude of the aircraft. The actual control action on the propellers is then managed by the advanced flight controls system. The new piloting interface radically simplifies flying and in turn, reduces pilot workload.
Philippe Defrance, Marketing segment leader at Crouzet, commented: “Airbus and Crouzet jointly designed a cutting-edge human-machine interface that allows pilots to fly CityAirbus NextGen and to control peripheral functions such as the radio and the autopilot.”
Rising to the challenge of making zero-emission flights possible, Eaton and Crouzet are believed to have powered end-to-end technical solutions that will deliver advanced air mobility requirements for the highest levels of safety and innovation.
The human-machine-interface is seen as a major asset for the cockpit concept retained for CityAirbus NextGen. It will rely on Crouzet’s piloting device to let the pilot choose either a fully automated flight, or manual control takeover for a smooth and easy steering of the aircraft anytime during the flight.
Defrance added: “This new generation of pilot control is an important step toward air mobility services with Airbus’ eVTOL. We worked side by side with Airbus – a long term trusted partner – to shape the most ergonomic pilot control device for CityAirbus NextGen.”
Eaton is believed to have fostered the development of electrical flight through years of collaboration with Airbus, and by investing in base technologies such as materials, processes and controls, in order to deliver state-of-the-art, innovative eVTOL system that is safe, accessible and secure.
Krishna Jonnalagadda, SVP and General Manager of Eaton’s Fluid and Electrical Distribution Division, said: “Electrified flight is a major milestone for this industry and a key-element of Eaton’s Aerospace strategy for the next decades. As an expert in power systems, selective coordination and power distribution, Eaton has a key role to play. We are providing Airbus the latest of our innovative technologies and aerospace processes to comply with safety of flight.”