Interview with Anita Sengupta, Founder and Chief Product Officer, Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX)
LEADERS LEAGUE. In a few words, can you tell us about your background?
Anita Sengupta. I am an aerospace engineer with a PhD in propulsion – that’s rocket science in layman’s terms. For most of my career, a period of some 16 years at NASA, largely on unmanned space exploration of space. I left NASA in 2017 to become senior vice president of Virgin
Hyperloop and at the end of last year I became a founding member of Airspace Experience Technologies.
How would you define your role at Airspace Experience Technologies?
I am the chief product officer and co-founder. I am responsible for system architecture, business development and product definition. I am also a qualified pilot, so I hope to pilot our vehicle in the
What legal and regulatory aspects are important to consider before your products can be put on the market?
With ASX we are working on electric VTOL urban aerial transport at an affordable cost and with a smaller carbon footprint than current urban air travel. As with any new technology, we must work with regulators to certify our vehicle. Sometimes existing standards may need to updated, to handle electric motors and batteries, for example, but that is a process that the industry as a whole is engaged in to facilitate commercial VTOL and electric aircraft.
How far are we from traveling by hyperloop or in flying cars?
The challenge lies not in technological development: that is engineering, my job, and the reason why I do what I do. The challenge is obtaining funding and governmental support. The good news is that both have been secured for several new modes including urban air taxis. Masstransit infrastructure is inherently a shared undertaking. Based on that, I would say we are five years away from the first air taxis and 10 years from a hyperloop.
Interview by Camille Guével