Six Fraunhofer institutes have united with the aim to address the technical and societal challenges linked with UAM and have produced the Fraunhofer ALBACOPTER as part of the Lighthouse Project.
“Spearheaded by the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI, researchers have developed an aircraft inspired by the albatross, designed for remarkably efficient gliding” according to a report in impact lab.
“The Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project aims to address the challenges in Urban Air Transportation such as: Electric multicopters that offer VTOL agility and meet safety and environmental standards, however, also have limited range and payload capacity due to low efficiency and energy storage densities that hinder their utility. While larger wings could enhance energy efficiency by enabling gliding, they present challenges for take-off and landing in urban areas. Autonomous VTOL flight, a necessity for UAM’s financial viability, introduces safety concerns associated with AI-based control systems.
“To address these challenges, the Fraunhofer consortium initiated the ALBACOPTER Lighthouse Project in 2021. Its aim was to create a flying platform combining multicopter agility with glider-like efficiency. Prof. Matthias Klingner, project manager and director of Fraunhofer IVI, emphasizes the ALBACOPTER’s distinctive features, including sustainable materials, high-performance propulsion systems, advanced multi-sensor systems, and an AI-based autopilot.”
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(Image: Fraunhofer Institutes)