Can eVTOLs help decarbonize oil and gas operations?

June 29, 2020 | Case Study

Characterized by exorbitant funding and lengthy development timelines, the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) market has raised more than $1 billion with hopes of transforming urban and regional air travel. Ehang, founded in 2014, has evolved into one of the more notable and proactive companies in the eVTOL space, touting its work via global demonstrations and eventually floating an initial public offering on the U.S. Nasdaq stock exchange. While the vehicle has yet to be certified as passenger airworthy by any country's aviation authority, the company has sold dozens of its two-seater autonomous aircraft and quadrupled its Q4 2019 revenue compared to the prior year. While the uninitiated bask in the notion of borderline-utopian networks of urban air taxis, top startups are fighting to be first to market, with their vehicles expected to, at the very least, provide clean, affordable, equitable transport for passenger or goods delivery. Ehang has proposed early applications that span medical supply and patient transport, tourism, and general commercial passenger transportation, though an additional and potentially more suitable use case has presented itself in Norway's oil and gas (O&G) industry. This announcement highlights that the country's geographical conditions bode well for Ehang's autonomous eVTOL system and suggests that Norway's current network of small airports, abundance of sparsely populated areas, and ample free airspace make it an appropriate candidate for further validation studies.

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