Strategies for posing a well-defined problem for urban air mobility vehicles

Matthew Clarke, Jordan Smart, Emilio Botero, Walter Maier, Juan J. Alonso

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Over the past decade, the use of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for urban air mobility (UAM) has seen a dramatic rise in interest from both the private and public sectors. Motivated by a surge in commuter air travel, the industry is rapidly propos-ing and adopting new vehicle concepts to meet consumer demands. However, variability in mission profiles and strong interdependencies of vehicle components present several challenges when implementing traditional aircraft design methodologies. Due to the absence of a “tried-and-true” approach, eVTOL concepts have come in all imaginable sizes and configurations. This has led to the creation of high-dimensional and computationally expensive optimization problems. In this paper, potential design strategies are presented and compared, identifying design variables and constraints which take precedence during a particular optimization. A novel weight build-up approach to estimating operating empty weight is also introduced. The results of this study were then used to restructure the methodology employed in the preliminary stages of conceptual eVTOL design. This work precedes a larger study to quantify post-optimality sensitivities of constraints, which will allow for the removal of implicitly resolved parameters and a reduction in computational cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA Scitech 2019 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
ISBN (Print)9781624105784
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
EventAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Jan 7 2019Jan 11 2019

Publication series

NameAIAA Scitech 2019 Forum


ConferenceAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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