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TUM to research eVTOL flight control systems to support safe, windy, urban vertiport operations

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) has embarked a new research programme to develop new eVTOL flight control software to ensure safety during the take off and landing phases of flight during high winds in an urban environment.

According to the TUM, eVTOLs pose new challenges from the point of view of flight mechanics as well as control technology.

“This is especially true in windy situations with many objects in the vicinity of the aircraft, which is especially the case for takeoffs and landings of novel flight concepts in an urban context. With the goal of autonomous operation of eVTOLs under these conditions, robust flight guidance and control is required,” says the project’s website. “In this context, the flight controller of the eVTOL must be responsive to the disturbing flow environments, as well as prevent collision with structures in the environment.

“Within the context of the project “Lattice-Boltzmann assisted controller design” (LaBouR), the development of a simulation environment which is able to simulate the complex aerodynamic interactions of multirotor eVTOLs and thereby take them into account in the controller development. By means of a flow simulation based on the Lattice-Boltzmann Method (LBM), the ambient simulate the ambient flow around the aircraft and thus capture the interactions between the aircraft and the flow. This will be done with a focus on flights in the vicinity of buildings as well as landing and takeoff maneuvers.

“For short computation times, the flow simulation is implemented on GPUs. The project will extend this for arbitrary multirotor configurations and reduce the computational time strongly in order to implement short computational cycles for the controller development.”

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