Silent Air Taxi
Analysis and design of an on-demand air mobility system for point to point connections, using small, highly automated, electric aircraft and regional/urban airfields.Copyright: © ILR
The past years have brought great advancements in the automation of flight control and, thanks to the automobile industry, the electrification of the powertrain. This development is expected to progress further, allowing for pilotless, sustainable, small aircraft for 2-8 passengers to be a practical possibility in the medium-term future. Low operating costs and qualitative advantages generally associated with such a concept open up new possibilities for sustainable, regional air transport, or so called On-Demand Air Mobility (ODAM) concepts. As this falls within the realm of road- and rail-based competition, ODAM is to be seen attractive for a broad mass market.
This project analyzes two main questions, which arise from these circumstances. First, due to the lack of empirical market data, an economical assessment of ODAM concepts is of particular importance. This includes a feasibility analysis based on the willingness-to-pay as well as a detailed evaluation of the size of the market for ODAM concepts in Germany.
The second focus lies with the design of small electric and hybrid-electric aircraft. The almost linear scalability of electric motors opens up new capabilities in efficient propulsion integration, leading to essential questions about the integration of hybrid-electric powertrain concepts as well as distributed propulsion. The modification of single components generally has major impact on other aircraft components, which renders the isolated view of the electric powertrain useless. Thus, due to the additional opportunities of a more efficient propulsion-aircraft integration the impact on the overall aircraft needs to be examined and assessed. The Multidisciplinary Integrated Conceptual Aircraft Design and Optimization Environment MICADO acts as the basis for a comprehensive analysis of small electric and hybrid-electric aircraft, with the ability to create white-sheet preliminary aircraft designs incorporating the respective technologies.