The commercial UAM market creates unique weight and safety requirements based around frequent take-offs and landings in densely populated areas. To ensure passenger safety during hard or crash landings, a new array of technologies must be developed to bring superior safety to the industry in lightweight and compact forms that meet the needs of UAM vehicles. To address this need, Urbineer plans to use our unique background and market position to bring proven crashworthiness technology from the open-wheel Formula racing industry in the form of composite impact attenuators tailored to effectively disintegrate on impact, dispelling large amounts of energy and protecting both the occupants and the expensive fuselage. Urbineer’s approach is a fixed carbon fiber composite design optimized for maximum energy dissipation through controlled crush and minimum weight while being fully faired and integrated into the lower OML aero skin of the vehicle. The team envisions simple, externally-mounted, and replaceable attenuators that are standardized across platforms in design requirements, placement, and certification. Further following the model used in Formula racing, Urbineer sees a standardized protocol with design guidelines and clear dynamic test procedures to reduce crash attenuator certification cost and simplify the development and qualification of vehicle crashworthiness. NASA possesses the necessary technical background and influence to guide these efforts. The SBIR process provides a great resource to accelerate the development, and Urbineer possesses the technical expertise and strategic industry partners to develop and commercialize composite crash attenuators. Urbineer Inc is an engineering firm composed of experienced, hands-on, multidisciplinary engineers with a strong background in driving concepts to completion. The team has extensive experience in composite airframes, impact attenuator design/analysis, fabrication, and program management of complex systems.
NASA has VTOL vehicles and existing designs such as NASA GL-10 Greased Lightning. NASA is an official partner of Uber Elevate and this technology is important to overcoming safety barriers in support of flight operation goals of 2023. NASA has a drop test center in Langley and this would be a great build off of the previous test performed for Crash Test of an MD-500 Helicopter with a Deployable Energy Absorber Concept. NASA can help test UAM vehicles standardize mission and testing requirements for energy absorption.
Army FVL and FARA program VTOL designs are an ideal area to explore multifunctional composite crush structures. The On-Demand Air Taxi market vehicle concepts are without a real standard for crashworthiness with a unique mission profile and safety need. To reduce development cost our crash attenuators allow the vast vehicle configurations to be standardized without significant redesign.