Democratizing Air Mobility with Jon Rimanelli – Part 2

By Ed Bernardon

Urban aircraft will transform air mobility between cities, suburbs, and airports… How? When?

Urban air mobility

How do you avoid a traffic jam in the air? 

While this seems like a ridiculous question, it’s one of the main problems urban air vehicle developers have to solve. That’s because while having a traffic jam on the road can be unbearable, it’s harmless, but a traffic jam in the air can be fatal.

For urban air taxis to become a reality, they must turn their new flashy and near-fictional idea into something tangible and executable. This will involve working with governments to establish clear and reliable operating standards. If done properly, it will make convincing the public to adopt the new transportation mode easier.

In this episode, the first part of two, Ed Bernardon interviews Jon Rimanelli, founder and CEO of Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX), a company developing an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to transform mobility between cities, suburbs, and airports. He will share with us how urban air vehicles will work and the capabilities of the Sigma 6 aircraft.

Some Questions I Ask:

  • Do you think there will be hesitancy to use urban air vehicles? (10:00)
  • When do you think your model aircraft will be ready to fly for several miles? (13:19)
  • What will be the range and cargo capacity of your aircraft? (14:13)
  • Do you think pod-type air vehicles will become commonplace? (15:58)
  • What do you think we’ll see in air mobility in 30 years? (22:18)

What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • The traffic challenge of air taxis and how it can be solved  (02:09)
  • How urban air vehicles will be able to achieve safe separation (06:15)
  • What he learned along the way when building the Sigma 6 aircraft (11:03)
  • Why low noise was a priority when developing Sigma 6 aircraft (19:03)
  • Sigma 6’s manufacturability attribute (20:41)

Connect with Jon Rimanelli: 

Connect with Ed Bernardon:


Ed Bernardon: Picture this: You have a 10 am flight to catch but you oversleep and your GPS says “Ground traffic is insurmountable.” You realize your taxi will never be able to get you to the airport on time. What if you had another alternative to choose from on your app—hailing an air taxi? Imagine an aircraft that’s intended for shorter distances of travel than the traditional commercial aircraft we’re accustomed to. But wait, it gets better. Imagine that the cost is comparable to ground transportation choices! Well, that’s been touted as science fiction for as long as we can remember, but it will soon be a reality. Flying taxis won’t only be for the Jetsons!

Hello and welcome to Part 2 of my conversation with the Founder and CEO of Airspace Experience Technologies, Jon Rimanelli. Airspace Experience Technologies, also known as ASX, specializes in the development of eVTOL aircraft, electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, with the goal being to create a versatile aircraft that’s low on emissions, affordable, and can operate in both public and private sectors. In our last episode, Jon broke down what an air taxi is and what the costs are to operate one, as well as the technology behind them. In this episode, Jon and I continue our discussion on air taxis, delving into issues such as safety, traffic management, and infrastructure. We also take a closer look at ASX’s Sigma-6 and the lessons learned from previous iterations of this aircraft. Join me, Ed Bernardon, on this episode of The Future Car as we continue to take to new heights!

Ed Bernardon: The key to safety is air traffic control. When traditional aircraft are flying from city to city, they try and keep the airplane spaced so they don’t run into each other. However, now, you’re probably going to have a lot of these Urban Air Vehicles moving around within the city, moving towards airports where there are traditional aircraft landing and taking off. What has to be done to the air traffic control system so that now it can start to handle which is a whole new type of aircraft, a significant increase in the number of aircraft, and also in a more tightly spaced area? Is something being done to make sure that these things are going to be safe?

Jon Rimanelli: Traffic management is a big issue because when you’re talking about autonomous systems on the ground and on the air, the question is how do you constrain them? How do you organize them in the National Airspace System? On the ground, we have curbs, intersections, stop signs, and traffic lights, which our automation is designed to see, those are its rules, but there are no rules in the air. So, what we’ve done is we’ve actually developed a new approach to traffic management, using short-range wireless communication, which is connected vehicle technology where we broadcast the standards for arrivals, departures, authentication of traffic, speed, direction, and interchanges. So, we’re actually in the middle of a proposal right now with the US Department of Transportation to demonstrate our own traffic management system right here in Detroit. We’ve got a proof-of-concept vehicle that is ready to go into the air probably in the coming weeks. I go back to harvesting automotive technology. We’ve thought very hard about how to manage high velocity, high volume, and automotive traffic using connected vehicle architecture. I took that same architecture and I said, “Hey, why are we trying to reinvent something new for air traffic? Our aircraft are going to be operating at about 1000 to 3000 feet above the ground. We want to sequence and separate traffic. We want to broadcast standards. Well, we already have a system to do that on the ground.” So, we’ve pitched that to USDOT. Now NASA and the FAA are saying, “Oh, this is interesting.” We can actually have an active traffic management system; we have vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and collision avoidance. So, I think we’re heading in the right direction. We hope to be able to have that thing deployed here within the next six months, here in Metro Detroit. We’re working with some very large companies to demonstrate that so you’ve got the aircraft system. Because you have autonomous aircraft, they’re going to want to know where they can go and where they can’t go. And you really have to have cities and communities broadcasting that. Otherwise, there’s going to be no coordination, no system for organizing traffic. So, that’s the approach that we’re taking and it seems to be picking up traction.

Ed Bernardon: Now, in order to do this, you’d have to cooperate with the other Urban Air Vehicle companies. So you all accept the same protocol and methodology to communicate.

Jon Rimanelli: There’s good news is that low-cost systems already exist. It’s like technology readiness level of 9-10. Let’s call it a nine. It already exists. There are hardware manufacturers that already have this stuff in stock, no waiting. On the ground, it’s been a bit of a challenge to deploy because the government has pretty much made communities responsible for upgrading the roadways with wireless infrastructure. Everybody complains about not having enough money for the road; well, if they don’t have enough money for the roads, they don’t have enough money for wireless infrastructure. But now that we make it a dual-purpose system, it’s a dual-use technology, it’s now an infrastructure that the government and local communities can now see the value in. It’s not just a single-purpose infrastructure, it’s not just for cars. It’s for aircraft and ground vehicles.

Ed Bernardon: Well, leveraging what’s going on on the ground for connected vehicles makes a lot of sense: Just take the protocols or whatever it might be and take it into the air. But it is three dimensions and not two. I think about those Star Wars movies, where you see the perfectly-aligned lines of cars just flying all perfectly. When you bring that third dimension in, it must create some new problems that aren’t addressed on the ground. Are you addressing those somehow?

Jon Rimanelli: This short-range wireless communication system basically allows a vehicle to establish separation standards: You can’t get any closer to me than X, Y, and Z. So, when you’re platooning vehicles in and out of an urban center, they can be caravaned in with precision. It’s almost like you have adaptive cruise control on the ground; it’s like having adaptive cruise control in the air when my vehicle and other vehicles are able to compete with each other. So, that is a big feature, an important feature of short-range wireless. If we’ve demonstrated platooning, we can sequence and separate traffic autonomously. That’s what you’re going to need if we’re going to see a high volume and a high density of these vehicles going in and out of urban centers.

Ed Bernardon: So, do you think it will be somewhat like that? Like here’s a tube in the air, and when you’re going one direction, it’s this way; when the other direction, it’s a different tube or corridor they have to fly through?

Jon Rimanelli: So, you essentially have levels of mobility. So, from zero to 400 feet is really where these small unmanned systems traffic will operate; at 100 feet, it’ll be low speed; 200 feet, it’ll be slightly higher speed; 300 to 400 feet will be your high-speed lane. And then you’ll have the larger electric VTOLs and helicopters transitioning through that space. So, they are going to segment the airspace, this low-altitude, aircraft infrastructure, if you will. So, it’s all heading in the right direction. It’s just the government doesn’t really want to say this is the standard, this is what we’re going to do; they kind of want industry to do that, they want industry to decide what the final infrastructure should look like. They’re finally now picking up on the approach that we’ve been proposing because it’s already in existence from a technology readiness level. So, that piece is actually ready.

Ed Bernardon: Is there a lot of cooperation and a lot of communication between the different manufacturers of Urban Air Vehicles to move this forward?

Jon Rimanelli: There isn’t. I’d like there to be. The Vertical Flight Society does a great job of serving as an industry consortium to advance mobility and create working groups to solve problems. But I think in order for this to really be successful, we need to build a standard class of vehicles and increase the volume of production of those components to the point where we’re able to get high-reliability data to support safety because that’s the number one priority is making sure that people in the air and on the ground are safe. And whenever we can standardize hardware, software, and technology, the better because there’s less opportunity for anomalies when you have standards in the architecture, in my view.

Ed Bernardon: Do you think when this service is finally available, there’s going to be some hesitancy to jump into an Urban Air Vehicle?

Jon Rimanelli: Surprisingly, a lot of people are very anxious to get into these things. I think human nature is that we all want to we all liked the idea of flying — a lot of people do. I get asked all the time, “Can I come down and take a ride?” No, no, no, not yet. When my team says it’s safe, then I can fly. But until then, I’m grounded like the rest of you.

Ed Bernardon: I guess if we see you flying, then we know it’s got to be safe. And that probably gets us to the point where we say, “Well if he’s flying in it, I’ll give it a try.”

Jon Rimanelli: The Distributed Electric Propulsion adds that additional level of redundancy. That was the whole concept behind Distributed Electric Propulsion; we distribute the load across a variety, a plurality of rotors and motors so that if one fails or two fail, we can arrest to descent and land safely.

Ed Bernardon: Well, you founded the company in 2017, ASX. And to arrive at your current vehicle, the Sigma 6, you went through six iterations. Can you give us a little bit of an idea of what those iterations were like and what you learned along the way?

Jon Rimanelli: For me, it’s always been about finding a solution that was flexible. And we started off with a modular system. We pitched it to Uber, they’re like, “Looks great, we love it. Lose the modularity and add a tail so we have some dynamic stability in the event of a system failure.” So, we’ve gone through a number of– I think we built two 10th scales, and then we went fifth scales, and then third scales, and then half scale, and then full scale. And they improved with every iteration. So, the performance improved, the L over D performance, the range, and the safety. So, this was just the culmination of the last six vehicles that we built. Having built this full-scale vehicle, now we’re ready to build the next block one and employ all the lessons learned on block zero. So, it’s all about just continuously improving.

Ed Bernardon: The aircraft you have now, the one I saw at the Detroit show, has it flown? Not necessarily that particular one, but one of that design.

Jon Rimanelli: That has flown very briefly. We started flight tuning and testing in August of this year. We had the show, obviously, in September, so we had to knock it down the first week of September. But we were able to get it. We got it off the ground about a foot. Unfortunately, we were limited due to keep it at low because we didn’t get all of our batteries from our supplier. I mean, the supply chain has been a real problem for us on the battery front, still a problem. We have 1/6th of the available battery that we need to exercise the machine. So, when you have 1/6th of the battery, you’re asking for consequences. You can melt that battery down and create thermal excursions, which we don’t want to do. So, we’re really limited in what we can do. We hope to have the rest of the batteries in January, but it could be as long as June.

Ed Bernardon: Once you have your batteries, how long after that would you think before you’re going to sit there and pilot it on a typical run of several miles?

Jon Rimanelli: It’s very progressive, Ed. We’re in the risk management business. We take it one step at a time. So, I know that by midsummer, we’re supposed to be in the partial transition. I would love to be in full transition but I listen to my team, and the team says, “We’re going to make decisions when we complete technical milestones. As we can complete each angle of incidence through transition, we’re going to make a determination.” But I would like to be in transition by next year. I would love that. I hope that that’s the case. But it really is up in the air.

Ed Bernardon: Can you tell us a little bit about the range, the amount of cargo you can carry, and how those inter-relate to what your vehicle is going to be able to do?

Jon Rimanelli: So, purely electric with 2000 pounds with, let’s call it, future battery. By the time we’re certified, we’re looking at about 65 miles with 2000 pounds and about 150 miles, pure electric, with 1000 pounds. And if we go hybrid, we can go around 450 miles with 2000 pounds and we can do about 700 to 900 miles with 1000 pounds. The range really is going to be determined by how much you want to move and what source of energy you have onboard.

Ed Bernardon: I suppose since you have a pod, depending on what’s in the pod—if it’s a defense application or a first responder—will impact that, depending on the weight of the pod and what’s inside of it. Connecting it up in just a couple of minutes. Especially if you’re going to start to work with automotive companies or maybe even other Urban Air Vehicle companies, you have to standardize that interface in some way.

Jon Rimanelli: So the vision is for a multimodal transportation system that standardizes a container, it standardizes the interface to the aircraft, the container, and the ground vehicle. There’s one automotive company that we are working with actively at this moment to develop an interface. We’re not speaking publicly about it just yet, but we are working hand-in-hand with another automotive OEM to develop that standard interface.

Ed Bernardon: Do you think, over time, that there’ll be other—I don’t know if you want to call them—pod-type air vehicles like this, that it’ll just become somewhat commonplace rather than purpose-built? I guess that’s the trade-off: a pod approach versus a purpose-built.

Jon Rimanelli: So, if we were able to create the ultimate mobility system. We would have a container that can be driven, it can be flown, it can be put on a railcar, it can be put on a marine vessel. So, that way, we maximize the opportunity for mobility. There’s only going to be so much space on the ground for ground vehicles. Now, we have a lot more capacity in the air to manage traffic than we do on the ground. But if we had the ability to harmonize mobility and truly share mobility between air and ground vehicles and have a variety of OEMs participate in the aircraft, in the container, in the ground vehicle, you end up with a whole new system for transportation that is ultimately more efficient. Especially now with batteries being scarce, now we can share energy between ground and air transport systems by virtue of the container. That problem is not going to go away. I mean, there is only a finite amount of resources in the world that are available. And I think if we’re going to truly share mobility, we’ve got to really grow this concept of multimodal transportation. And that’s what we’re hoping to demonstrate with our machine and invite other industry players to participate.

Ed Bernardon: Inherently though, when you try and build something that can do many tasks versus purpose-built, there can be a loss in efficiency. And I think you mentioned that earlier that might not be as aerodynamic. So, I would assume that fundamental to your business approach is that the benefits and flexibility outweigh somewhat the efficiency.

Jon Rimanelli: There’s always a cost to configuration, there’s always a trade-off. So we may not be optimized for aerodynamics, but we’re optimized for mobility and flexibility, which allows us to do more jobs with a single platform.

Ed Bernardon: You mentioned hybrid mode. I suppose that’s to help you in those times when you have the bigger cargo or you want to go a little bit further. Is that a direct drive type thing? Or is it to generate to recharge the batteries?

Jon Rimanelli: Either or configurations. A series hybrid is certainly something that we are actively looking at. And then there is a direct drive hybrid, where we basically are using a turbo generator to provide energy to our electric motors. There may be some storage capacity on board, if you will, purely as a reserve and not necessarily as a primary source of energy.

Ed Bernardon: You mentioned being quiet. So, I would think that keeping that noise down relative to helicopters is one of the big advantages here. So the hybrid mode is probably for those longer distance traveling, not so much for the short hops between the city. You have a unique technology, that I think you’re patenting, that actually makes it quieter, makes the rotors quieter when they’re operating. What can you tell us about that?

Jon Rimanelli: Well, so low noise was of really high priority for us. I mean, I’d say number one, number two is low noise because the last thing we want to do is create all this noise in the air — it’s annoying. I don’t like it, and I know everybody else doesn’t like it. So, we started off with a low noise requirement which was basically a rotor tip speed, which translates into an RPM and a rotor size. So we really optimize the rotor size and speed to maximize low noise.

Ed Bernardon: is there a trade-off in efficiency there?

Jon Rimanelli: Well, actually the larger the rotor, the higher the efficiency. So we actually use six very large rotors, so the efficiency actually goes up with the rotor size. So, the trade-off is on the motors, motors like higher RPMs from an efficiency standpoint. So, there are fewer motor options that are direct drive and low RPM like that.

Ed Bernardon: I do want to ask you about your assembly. You talk about, in final assembly, how you can snap it together. I just start thinking, “Oh, it’s almost like a Lego aircraft.” What do you mean by “snapping together”?

Jon Rimanelli: We designed this thing for manufacturability. So, the main thing we wanted to be able to do is to produce these things at scale very quickly so that they could effectively snap together, which means that we’re employing a lot of high run-rate composite techniques that have low cycle times, high-pressure resin transfer molding or pultrusions. These are the primary methods that we’re using to produce the aero structure at scale and at speed. We wanted to design this thing with the fewest number of moving parts, so there are very few actuators. We don’t have tilt rotors, we have a tilt-wing. So, a lot of our competitors have six to 12 rotors that they have to tilt. We don’t tilt. We stabilize a fuselage to the wing. We don’t actually tilt rotors. So we designed it so that it can be quickly manufactured, assembled, and be highly serviceable because serviceability is very important. These were part of the requirements that we set for ourselves during the design process.

Ed Bernardon: Let’s think a little bit about where this is all headed. You said if all goes well, 2-4 years here, we’ll start to see these actually going into service possibly if all goes well.

Jon Rimanelli: Maybe not ours, but there are market leaders like Joby that are doing a great job, and they’ve gotten their 135 certification, they’re well on their way to getting certification. So they’re going to demonstrate this capability early on. We’re looking forward to following.

Ed Bernardon: So, tell me. Let’s look 10 years into the future, and then let’s take a big step after that, and let’s go to the year 2050 when all these autonomous cars, Urban Air Vehicles, autonomous mode, whatever it might be, micro-mobility, the cities have embraced it, and the cities are redesigned to take advantage of this. What do you think we’ll see in 10 years? And then what do you think we’ll see in, let’s call it, 30 years?

Jon Rimanelli: Well, in 10 years, you’re going to see, I would say, a hockey stick growth in Urban Air Mobility; we’re going to see it in all major cities around the country, ferrying people from the suburbs to the cities to the big airports. That is going to be really taking off. We’ll see a level of maturity in that business. We’ll start to see a lot of autonomy. In fact, we should be autonomous by then, in the air. From our side, we’d love to see autonomy on the ground, moving our containers from the vertiport to its first or last-mile destination. So, I’d say, within 10 years, we’re going to really see the business of Urban Air Mobility in flight. That’s very exciting. I think we’ll see that within three to four years, quite frankly. But it’ll really be maturing by 2030-2032. 2040, we’re going to be a trillion-dollar industry worldwide. We’re going to see, what I would say, less air taxi service and more autonomy for individual and personal air mobility by 2040. But big aircraft moving cargo, they’re still going to be a thing.

Ed Bernardon: How’s the city going to be different? Let’s take another 10 years, let’s make it 2050. What’s the city going to be like? Like the Jetsons? I’m sure you get the Jetson question all the time.

Jon Rimanelli: The minute we start getting an energetic solution that is safe and reliable, that can move individuals to and from waypoints, you’re going to see a lot of traffic that’s platooned between cities, airports, and suburbs. So, it’d be very Jetson-esque because they won’t be controlling anything. We’ll just be in a caravan of vehicles that is translating from point A to point B. So, that is a certainty. It’s a fact, we’ll have a vehicle-to-vehicle communication system, where my vehicle talks to your vehicle, and you’re like, “Hey, I’m 25 feet behind you. Great. Stay away from me. This is our sequence and separation requirement.” There’ll be, I’d say, a whole new level of economic performance because we’ll be able to expand the economy because we can do more with less time.

Ed Bernardon: What’s the speed that one of these will have?

Jon Rimanelli: They range. Like I said, our vehicle probably can go as fast as 250 miles an hour with the right payload on it that’s aerodynamic. But we take a container and we’re going to be doing that 100 to 125 miles an hour, nothing earth-shattering. Some of these other vehicles will go as fast as– We’re targeting around 150 being the industry objective. But I think we’re going to be in the 100-125 miles an hour range.

Ed Bernardon: So, you have these Urban Air Vehicles at 150 miles per hour platooning through the air, you’re probably alleviating some of the traffic on the ground. So, some of the traffic that’s on the ground is now going to move to the air. You could also platoon in special lanes on the ground, maybe at 100 miles per hour. So, how do you see the balance? And let’s look at this fully autonomous world of 2050 — this balance of platooning vehicles on the ground and 100, things that can go through the air at 150. The cost is probably going to be different; timing is different too because you can go from point to point where if you’re on highway 150, eventually you’ve got to get to a city, and then you’d probably slow down. How do you see the balance? Or how do you see all these pieces coming together in this future world?

Jon Rimanelli: It’s really going to be using this intelligent digital infrastructure that’s going to outline the routes that you can fly in. And if there is traffic on that route, then you’re going to have a sequence and separation protocol to manage traffic, and there’ll be a lot more harmony because you’ll have the option of going from air to ground mobility based on what the best value proposition is going to be. It may be that it’s a bad weather day, and we might need to operate mostly on the ground because of bad weather. But having the option, I think, is what this is really about. Lightening the load on the road is going to be the key objective, going emission-free, and getting some of that carbon out of the air. But having the option of driving or flying is truly going to make the country more productive.

Ed Bernardon: It’s almost like you’re going to need a three-dimensional Waze. And depending on what you want—lowest cost, least amount of time, best sustainability, least impact—you could pick what you want. Are you thinking about that? Do you think there are people out there working on the 3D Waze of the future?

Jon Rimanelli: 100%. That’s already been done. Well, it’s just another transportation option. If you look at your mobile app, you can do Walk, Bike, or Drive; another option will be Fly.

Ed Bernardon: And it will be a straight line from A to B.

Jon Rimanelli: It may be a straight line, there may be an airspace issue, there may be a fire that’s clouding the air and putting debris into the air so they may need to reroute traffic. But it’s all about that option; it’s a transportation option and we’re going to have it. It’s coming.

Ed Bernardon: Jon, thank you so much, first of all, for that whole definition of what Urban Air Vehicles are, how your company fits into that, and this vision into the future.

Jon Rimanelli: Well, Ed, I appreciate the opportunity to share it with you and your audience. And I’m looking forward to continuing the progress and looking forward to the future.

Ed Bernardon: So, our final little segment, we call Rapid Fire — a series of quick questions and answers. You can answer them in one-liners or you can say “pass” if you don’t want to answer. What was the first car you ever bought or owned?

Jon Rimanelli: The first vehicle I ever owned was kind of pass. It was an Acura Integra, it was a gift.

Ed Bernardon: Did you pass your driver’s test on the first try?

Jon Rimanelli: Of course.

Ed Bernardon: First trip you ever took in an airplane?

Jon Rimanelli: Well, the first trip I’ve ever taken in an airplane, I believe, was to Florida.

Ed Bernardon: We always ask people on The Future Car podcast if you had your living room on wheels, an autonomous car, a five-hour ride. I’m going to slightly change it for you: Your pod. A five-hour trip on your pod. What would you have in your pod for that five-hour trip? It’s autonomous, you can do anything you want. What would you put in it?

Jon Rimanelli: Well, I would have a recliner so I could recline and get a nap in. I would have a cooler to keep my beverages cool.

Ed Bernardon: What’s your favorite beverage you’d have?

Jon Rimanelli: Well, I mean, it would just be like cold water, an iced tea. I would have an espresso maker. Maybe just some storage for some snacks. A five-hour trip might need to land for a bathroom break.

Ed Bernardon: You can have a toilet in there, too, if you want.

Jon Rimanelli: Conceivably you could if the container was large enough.

Ed Bernardon: So, what person, living today or from the past, anyone from the past, would you want to spend that five-hour ride with?

Jon Rimanelli: Well, I would say my wife. But I don’t know, she might not agree with me on that one.

Ed Bernardon: Good answer in case she’s listening.

Jon Rimanelli: Yeah, well, you know, Ed. Who am I going to spend five hours in the car with? I mean, I do trips with some of my team members, obviously, to do business deals and stuff like that. So, I would say my wife or my team.

Ed Bernardon: If you could uninvent one thing, what would it be?

Jon Rimanelli: A lot of regulation.

Ed Bernardon: That sounds good. If you could magically invent one thing, what would it be?

Jon Rimanelli: Less regulation.

Ed Bernardon: Favorite aircraft of all time? Besides yours. Can’t be the Sigma 6. Favorite aircraft of all time.

Jon Rimanelli: Well, I used to own a Mooney, that was a great airplane. I loved my Cirrus. The Pilatus PC-12 is a great airplane, one of my all-time favorites, I would say. F-35 is pretty sweet.

Ed Bernardon: Favorite pilot of all time. Of all the pilots that have brought us to where we are in the world of aviation, who do admire the most, your favorite?

Jon Rimanelli: Well, I’d have to say it’s our friend that landed that United Aircraft on the Hudson — it’s escaping me right now: Sully, Sullenberger

Ed Bernardon: Sully. Yes, good choice. Last question: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise your friends and family, something they don’t know.

Jon Rimanelli: Well, I think I’m pretty outgoing and I pretty much let everybody know where I stand. But I think that what people probably don’t really appreciate is the fact that I do all this because I want to help people and I want to improve the quality of life for people. And I’m very passionate about sharing this experience and sharing this mode of transportation with people because I sacrifice a lot personally for it. And there a lot of times people say, “Why do you do this? Why do you put yourself through that?” And it’s because someone has to do it. If someone doesn’t make that commitment to improving life for people, why live life? What’s the purpose? That’s what I think.

Ed Bernardon: Jon, thank you so much. Thank you for joining us and for taking the time with us.

Jon Rimanelli: Pleasure, Ed, thank you so much. And looking forward to our next chat.



Jon Rimanelli - ASX Co-Founder and CEO

Jon Rimanelli – ASX Co-Founder and CEO

Jon is an electronics and aerospace entrepreneur with over three decades of experience designing and building complex electronics and robotics. He is an instrument rated seaplane pilot in a variety of aircraft. In 2017 he established Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX), a company with a vison of creating electric aircraft designed to be clean, quiet and connected. Prior, Jon founded Nextronix, a contract electronics design and manufacturing company and Detroit Aircraft Corp to manufacture and distribute small electric VTOL aircraft for military, civil and commercial use worldwide.

Ed Bernardon, Vice President Strategic Automotive Intiatives - Host

Ed Bernardon, Vice President Strategic Automotive Intiatives – Host

Ed is currently VP Strategic Automotive Initiatives at Siemens Digital Industries Software. Responsibilities include strategic planning in areas of design of autonomous/connected vehicles, lightweight automotive structures and interiors. He is also responsible for Future Car thought leadership including hosting the Future Car Podcast and development of cross divisional projects. Previously a founding member of VISTAGY that developed light-weight structure and automotive interior design software acquired by Siemens in 2011.  Ed holds an M.S.M.E. from MIT, B.S.M.E. from Purdue, and MBA from Butler.

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The Future Car Podcast Podcast

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Transportation plays a big part in our everyday life and with autonomous and electric cars, micro-mobility and air taxis to name a few, mobility is changing at a rate never before seen. On the Siemens Future Car Podcast we interview industry leaders creating our transportation future to inform our listeners in an entertaining way about the evolving mobility landscape and the people that are helping us realize it. Guests range from C-Level OEM executives, mobility startup founders/CEO’s, pioneers in AI law, Formula 1 drivers and engineers, Smart Cities architects, government regulators and many more. Tune in to learn what will be in your mobility future.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/podcasts/the-future-car/democratizing-air-mobility-with-jon-rimanelli-part-2/