NASA’s Parimal Kopardekar has stated on multiple occasions that noise is one of the top three challenges for Urban Air Mobility (UAM). We specifically target developing a software system called the Quiet UAM Impact Path Planning (QUIPP) Tool for generating electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft flight paths that minimize noise impacts on people within the UAM on-demand environment. This new capability will enhance the A3.04 subtopic’s need for “dynamic route planning that considers changing environmental conditions, vehicle performance and endurance” by developing flight paths based on current noise impacts and constraints within the operating environment, thereby adding agility, scalability, and adaptability to dynamic route planning. The QUIPP system proposed in this SBIR generates 4-dimensional trajectories that are the least intrusive in terms of the overall cumulative noise impacts on the population while considering vehicle endurance such as maximum range. QUIPP comprises dynamic input datasets and flight path optimization that rely on current noise contours from a noise model. The dynamic inputs are used by QUIPP to synthesize noise-sensitive 4-D trajectories by applying an adaptation of Dijkstra's shortest path algorithm to find the lowest cost route. QUIPP will help to gain community acceptance of UAM by developing optimal flight paths that utilize the current noise conditions and the temporal movement of people throughout the day to minimize noise exposure. QUIPP minimizes the noise impact of UAM flights to gain local community acceptance, which is a critical issue to UAM success. The anticipated result of Phase I is successful demonstration of a proof-of-concept where flight paths are developed that minimize the noise impact on the population while working within the boundaries of environmental and aircraft constraints. In addition, QUIPP will demonstrate fast response times needed in an on-demand environment.
QUIPP can be used (1) for noise-sensitive route optimization algorithm development in NASA’s UAM Noise Working Group, (2) for UAM flight demonstrations/tests by the ATM-X Initial UAM Ops Integration sub-project and Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign, (3) to analyze missions for concept vehicles from the Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology and Rotorcraft Technology Development sub-projects, and (4) integrated with the ATM-X Testbed to simulate regular or noise-sensitive UAM flight plans.
QUIPP software can be (1) integrated within existing flight planning software from current vendors such as ForeFlight, (2) integrated into services offered by USSs such as AirMap, (3) used to support urban communities impacted by future UAM flights, and (4) used by stakeholders and operators responsible for UAM noise complaints and compliance with future UAM environmental regulations and policy.