Russia-based Bartini Aero has been slowly working on an eVTOL design that it designates as the Autonomous Aerial Vehicle since 2016. The company is planning to power the aircraft with hydrogen fuel cells. Founder and CEO Ilya Khanykov told FutureFlight that he does not anticipate sufficiently significant progress being achieved with lithium-ion battery technology to ensure the level of performance he feels is necessary to make eVTOL flight viable. That said, he also indicated that the Bartini aircraft can in fact be powered by electric batteries if necessary. Other key elements of the design include a flying wing and variable pitch propellers.
In November 2019, founder and CEO Ilya Khanykov told FutureFlight that it will need new investment of at least $30 million to advance the plans. He said that the company currently has backing from a group of Russian and Swedish investors.
The next step for the program, funding permitting, is to build a full-scale model that can be used for flight testing. So far it has only built a number of small scale models and has been working on software to support the program. According to Khanykov, Bartini could have a two-seat version of its aircraft ready to enter service within just 18 months of securing the necessary financial support.
In August 2020, a company called NBD reported that it is working with Bartini Aero to explore the possible use of its nano diamond battery technology to power the planned eVTOL, presumably as an alternative to hydrogen fuel cells. However, it indicated that disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic had interrupted progress on this research and development work.