Xpeng Aeroht seeks airworthiness approval for key eVTOL system

According to the administration, the CTSOA prescribes the minimum performance standards that an aircraft's system, parts or equipment must first meet for approval and identification with the applicable marking.

Xpeng Aeroht (小鹏汇天), the eVTOL arm of Chinese EV maker Xpeng (小鹏汽车, Nasdaq: XPEV, HK: 09868), announced yesterday that its application to certify its self-developed attitude and heading reference system (AHRS), a key module, had been accepted for review by China’s civil aviation authorities a day earlier.

This represents a milestone in the startup’s quest to acquire crucial airworthiness certificates from Civil Aviation Administration of China, a statement from Aeroht says.

The company earlier applied for a license called China Civil Aviation Technical Standard Order Authorization (CTSOA) to validate its work on the system.

According to the administration, the CTSOA prescribes the minimum performance standards that an aircraft’s system, parts or equipment must first meet for approval and identification with the applicable marking.

All photos courtesy of Xpeng Aeroht

Xpeng’s latest bid came almost half a year after it announced in January the acquisition of a specialized airworthiness license for its flagship eVTOL model X2.

If the eVTOL affiliate is granted the CTSOA again, this will clear the way for the AHRS to be directly installed on an aircraft after securing an official go-ahead.

Flight control and navigation

The AHRS that Xpeng looks to license this time is a key component of its flying cars.

It is responsible for providing reference input for their flight control and navigation, according to Xpeng.

This system works not just independently but also in conjunction with other navigation equipment, offering reliable and precise positioning data to the air taxi.

Aeroht has deployed the AHRS to various types of its eVTOL aircraft and completed over 2,000 test flights under different working conditions, recording a total of over 500 hours in flight time.

Aeroht said its performance and reliability have been proven through a large number of these tests.

Independent innovation

The Guangzhou-based firm has been designing and integrating key parts and equipment on its own since its inception, convinced of the need to ensure safety, control the R&D cycle, reduce product weight and cut costs.

Going forward, regardless of the certification results, Aeroht will undertake airworthiness-related work under the supervision of the administration.

This will also set the ground for it to gain insights into the construction of future products and parts and enhance overall R&D efficiency, Aeroht said.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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