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19-05-2021 | Posted by Principia
Urban mobility, and the consequences of traffic congestion in large cities, have become a major problem that will have to be dealt with in the near future. And not so much to save commuting time, but to improve the impact on CO2 emissions.
Science fiction movies like Blade Runner or Back to the Future display a world in which electric vehicles move in the air, relieving land traffic. Perhaps it is not an immediate future, but companies like Toyota and Tesla are starting to design such vehicles.
Indeed, currently there are about 155 projects under development of eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) vehicles, which have attracted investments of over $1b. They face the challenge of numerous feasibility problems, like operating efficiency, noise levels, performance, reliability, safety and, of course, necessary infrastructure.
Answering these questions involves the collaboration of vehicle designers, public institutions, municipal authorities, and managers of infrastructures. And, from a technical standpoint, it also requires being able to use the available simulation tools in an efficient and collaborative manner.
Managing the complete development life cycle, and using virtual twins to reduce times and costs, from design to manufacturing and commercialisation, including all types of virtual simulations, are key factors when trying to lead this innovative activity.
The integration of all those technologies in a collaborative platform such 3DEXPERIENCE allows the engineers to work efficiently with a single source of data, and to collaborate with other parties involved in the development.
Apart from the capabilities offered by CATIA for the initial development phases and generation of 3D models, tools like SIMULIA PowerFLOW and XFlow will allow optimising the aerodynamic performance and the acoustic impact as a function of the design geometry. Regarding safety, the numerical methods in Abaqus will simulate the various impacts that can take place against the windscreen or the fuselage, and will help to identify the most appropriate composite materials for the vehicle. And, considering that the vehicles will be electric, CST Studio Suite will simulate their behaviour in electromagnetic fields.
In summary, digital prototyping and collaborative virtual simulation offer obvious advantages for accelerating the development of eVTOL vehicles, at a time when urban mobility takes the stage in the public debate, and they can contribute decisively to meeting the challenges posed by their implementation.