Electric propulsion technology, with its significant advantages of high efficiency, low emissions, and low noise, is Future development has brought new directions, and the concept of Urban Air Transport (UAM) also takes this opportunity to become the hottest innovation field in the aviation industry. Uber in the United States (Uber) proposed the UberElevate concept in 2016 for urban air transport needs, and in 2017Since then, the Uber Elevate Summit has been held every year to build a platform for exchanges and cooperation. Through cooperation with governments, enterprises and academia, the Uber Air, a shared electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle transportation service suitable for urban air transportation, will be launched to promote the development of the urban air transportation industry. The 3rd UberElevate Summit was held in Washington, USA from June 11th to 12th, and discussed topics in areas such as aircraft partners, UAM pilot cities, and infrastructure construction. This article sorts out the main content of this summit.
UAM aircraft concept
The latest aircraft design of Kalem Company includes 4 large rotors, of which there are 2 tilting rotors on the tail. The company’s speed-optimized tilt-wing technology solution combines the speed advantages of fixed-wing aircraft with the hovering capabilities of helicopters, through horizontal and vertical flightChange the rotor speed to achieve higher efficiency. Carlyme relied on this technology to obtain a $738 million contract from the US Army for future attack reconnaissance aircraft related technologies. In the UAM field, Carlyme's use of speed-optimized tilt-rotor technology will provide higher lift and quieter acoustics, while consuming less battery power than designs with smaller rotors, thus not relying on future battery technology breakthroughs Then the aircraft operation can be realized.
Embraer’s UAM aircraft is the company’s first foray into the field of rotorcraft. The EmbraerX concept aircraft uses 8 rotors to provide vertical lift. When switched to horizontal flight mode, the lift is determined by The horizontal wing is provided, and the propeller at the tail provides forward power. At this summit, Embraer’s aircraft concept has been significantly changed compared with the previous summit. The rotor support has been improved from the previous row on each side of the summit. Separate front and rear, the original single propulsion propellers at the tail are also changed to two, installed on the rear edge of the rear rotor support.
Boeing’s Aurora Flight Science Company has established its presence in Manassas, Virginia. The headquarters of the company conducted a comprehensive eVTOL test. On January 23, 2019, its autonomous passenger aircraft (PAV) prototype completed the first flight, powered by an all-electric propulsion system. The design goal is to haveLand’s fully autonomous flight capability with a range of up to 50 miles (80.47 kilometers); the prototype is 30 feet (9.14 meters) long and 28 feet (8.53 meters) wide. The fuselage integrates propulsion systems and wings to achieve high efficiency Hovering and forward flight. The PAV has a total of 9 rotors, 4 on each side of the fuselage and 1 on the tail. The remaining technical details have not been disclosed. Unfortunately, the PAV prototype crashed during a recent test flight.
The Bat Aircraft Company of Slovenia has been focusing on electric aircraft technology since 2011. At the last summit, the company announced that it is developing an eVTOL with a differentiated, low-noise propulsion system The aircraft does not have any visible vertical lift rotor. At this summit, Bat Aircraft Company demonstrated its 801 aircraft model, which is different from the concept announced last year, with a flat tail added and a different configuration of the front fuselage. 801 It is a five-seater aircraft with 4 inner wing lift fans on each side, which can provide vertical take-off and landing lift, which is turned off during the cruising phase; there is a propulsion fan for cruise at the tail and no tilting parts. The cruise speed of 801 can be Up to 200 miles per hour.
At the 2018 International Consumer Electronics Show, Bell launched a full-scale hybrid electric propulsion eVTOL called Bell Nexus The model adopts Bell's iconic tilting rotor design, equipped with 6 tilting duct fans, and 5 seats inside the aircraft. The Nexus team is composed of Bell, Safran, EPS, Thales, Moog and Garmin , Bell is responsible for the design, development and production of aircraft systems, Safran provides hybrid propulsion and drive systems, EPS provides energy storage systems, and Thales provides flight control computer hardwareAnd software, Moog is responsible for developing the flight control drive system, and Garmin is responsible for integrating avionics and aircraft management computers.
At this summit, Nexus is still the focus. Bell demonstrated the transition of the aircraft from hovering to cruise, and hinted that the aircraft can be used for other purposes besides passenger transportation.
UAM airborne system solutions and cockpit design
Compared with other aviation companies, Honeywell announced that it will enter the UAM field later , But its actions are very efficient. The company is providing a full range of solutions for avionics and propulsion systems, and has locked many manufacturers as customers. At the summit, Honeywell and Jaunt signed a memorandum of understanding. Honeywell will provide avionics, navigation, flight control, and navigation for Jaunt’s eVOTL aircraft.Interconnection system. At the same time, Honeywell demonstrated its small fly-by-wire flight control system, attitude and heading reference system, small inertial measurement unit (only the size of an ice hockey puck), modular anti-collision radar and turbine generator system with electromechanical actuators.
At this summit, Safran and Uber demonstrated a universal eVTOL cockpit that can be applied to any aircraft manufacturer's product to ensure a consistent passenger experience. Cockpit seats and portholes are designed to maximize the legroom, privacy and vision of each passenger. At the same time, in order to ensure the operating efficiency of Skyport and ensure the speed of boarding and landing, the design adopts a wide swing hatch. The design was developed by the Safran Cockpit Design and Innovation Studio in Huntington Beach, California, which has conducted months of intensive design and passenger experience research, and has cooperated with a number of auto equipment manufacturers and regulatory agencies. Safran Cockpit Studio combines large passenger aircraft with smallCombining the experience of business jet interior design, a complete integrated cockpit interior is designed according to common eVTOL specifications. Scott, the executive vice president of the studio, said that through the entire process of cooperating with Uber, the studio has completed 6 full-scale models, each of which has undergone multiple iterations, hoping to minimize excess weight and costs while ensuring the task Security, comfortable user experience and seamless interaction.
UAM's new pilot cities and new partners
The first two UAM pilot regions announced by Uber are the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area And Los Angeles. The company cooperates with international markets such as Australia, Brazil, France, India and Japan, and has visited and researched many international cities including Mumbai, Tokyo, Santiago, Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Paris. At this summit, Uber announcedThe first UAM partner city is Melbourne, Australia.
UAM infrastructure construction and drone delivery services
Uber announced that it will be the first in Santa Clara, California to be built by its infrastructure partner Related Company A Skyport infrastructure. The second planned Skyport will be built in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, and Uber will develop the project together with another partner, Hillwood.
Skyports can be built based on existing parking lots, hotels, or airports, or can be built independently. While meeting the needs of UAM aircraft for takeoff and landing, it can also realize Uber ground transportation and provide Uber Eats food service, Uber electric bicycle charging service, etc. Uber came up with a concept called MegaportAs a multi-platform building with intensive management, Megaport can complete thousands of takeoffs and landings per hour. Uber announced a partnership with Signature Flight Services to launch Skyport operations. Signature operates more than 200 terminals worldwide and will participate in the logistics and management of the Skyports project. The cooperation between Signature and Uber will begin in the near future. The company, in cooperation with Uber Copter, will launch UAM services operated by traditional helicopters in New York in July 2019. This service will also provide experience for later eVTOL operations.
In order to achieve the goal of finally transitioning to unmanned autonomous driving, Uber announced AT&T as an interconnected service partner to seek LTE and 5G services for eVTOL and cargo drones. The two companies said they are currently exploring general4G and 5G technologies may further explore the application of edge computing and network slicing technologies in the future.
At this summit, Uber announced that it will test the food supply of drones in high-density urban areas through the Uber Eats service. Uber has passed the federal drone integration pilot project, conducted a small-scale test of McDonald's food drone delivery in San Diego, and is preparing to expand the location and service product range. According to Uber's vision, Uber Eats delivery drivers load food onto the drone, and the drone is responsible for the final mileage of the delivery and delivering the food to the user. Drone delivery will rely on Uber's ElevateCloud Systems airspace management system, which also supports various other applications the company is developing. (Author: Muzuo Dong)