Air Taxi

Varon Vehicles and RTI Partner on UAM Air Traffic System

By Kelsey Reichmann | August 19, 2021
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Varon Vehicles is looking at urban air mobility as an answer to mobility infrastructure problems. (Varon Vehicles)

Varon Vehicles, an urban air mobility company (UAM) focused on infrastructure, has joined forces with Real-Time Innovations (RTI), a software company for autonomous systems, to build a UAM traffic management system for air taxis, the company announced on Aug. 17. 

The announcement is the beginning of a more formal relationship between the two companies, Chip Downing, Senior Market Development Director A&D at RTI, told Aviation Today via email. RTI and Varon Vehicles have worked together informally for over a year. The system will be used on Varon Vehicles infrastructure network of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Varon Vehicles UAM systems and networks are currently in a requirements gathering and initial design phase.

“Urban air mobility platforms and ground infrastructure systems have unique requirements and face complex challenges as they move towards wide-spread, commercial deployment,” Downing said. “Futuristic transport systems like these provide the industry with safe, convenient options. We are pleased to work with Varon Vehicles as they drive UAM innovation and build a powerful infrastructure system for UAM in Latin America.”

The RTI partnership is the latest industry collaboration established by Varon Vehicles this year. Others include a vertiport development partnership with Jaunt Air Mobility and an agreement signed with GE Digital in June to integrate their predictive analytics platform into the UAM infrastructure and ecosystem solutions they're developing.

RTI has a UAM system, Connext DDS, which provides a software connectivity framework for vehicle sensors and systems, according to the release. Connext allows for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. This system also offers commercial RTCA DO-178C and EUROCAE ED-12C DAL A certification. 

“We are proud to work with RTI as we plan for implementation of our operations and progress with the integration of the components required in our Infrastructure Networks,” Felipe Varon, CEO and Founder of Varon Vehicles, said in a statement. “RTI Connext delivers the communication and data fusion capabilities necessary to enable high-end reliability and safety of all the systems we need to bring together. Data management robustness, reliability, and real-time performance are critical in the highly automated environments required in our Infrastructure Networks.”

The UAM system will contain three main components: vertiports, virtual aerial lanes linking vertiports, and eVTOL aircraft fleets. 

“The end product will be a disruptive form of Mobility Infrastructure that can be readily deployed in Latin America,” Downing said. “It’s a major transportation infrastructure in the air. Just like there are roads, train systems and metro systems on the ground, it will work to transport people and goods, but with the capacity for less gridlock, less costly per-mile delivery and faster, more direct routes...RTI technology powers the connectivity in autonomous vehicles – aerial and on the ground – and plays a critical role in ensuring safe, high-performance operations within the individual aerial vehicles as well as throughout the entire Urban Air Mobility operation.” 

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