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Sigma-6: a glimpse into the future of aviation
The Sigma-6, an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, is currently housed in an old hangar at the historic Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport in Detroit. With its sleek design and cutting-edge technology, it represents the future of aviation.
Running out of runway?
Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX), the startup behind the Sigma-6, has nearly exhausted its cash reserves, according to founder Jon Rimanelli. Despite efforts to secure further funding, there appears to be little appetite from investors or economic development officials to continue supporting the project in Michigan. Rimanelli has started to explore other locations and even considered selling the company. During a visit to Wichita, Kansas, last month, he received the red-carpet treatment from economic development officials. However, he has yet to receive similar support in Michigan.
A struggling sector
Rimanelli’s frustration is being compounded by the broader lack of traction for eVTOL vehicles or flying cars, in recent years. His ambitious plan from five years ago, to have his first flying car shuttling passengers to and from Detroit Metropolitan Airport by 2023, seems far from being realized. This lack of progress could be attributed to the industry’s overall optimistic outlook during that period. Many people expected driverless cars to be widespread by now, too. However, automakers have shifted their focus to electrification and more practical advancements in driverless features instead of pursuing full Level 5 autonomy.