Assessment of Top-Level Specifications for Urban and Regional Air Mobility Vehicles
Established transport modes are reaching increasingly both capacity and infrastructure limits. To satisfy transport demand for passengers and cargo in the future, an increased usage of the third dimension could be one solution. More than 100 design concepts for so called ‘air taxis’ that shall address the markets for urban and regional air mobility are currently under development. This study supports the development efforts by providing a clear picture of top-level specifications for such vehicles and measures to assess their formal, technical, and economic coherence. Top-level specifications include a clear definition of a reference mission, top-level aircraft requirements (TLARs), and main components. All elements are adapted to the special requirements of either urban or regional air mobility, if necessary, and are fitted into the common aircraft design process suggested by literature. As vehicle designs for urban and regional air mobility are guided by diverse technical concepts, five archetypes are introduced that mainly differ regarding the way lift and propulsion are generated. Based on a functional dissection of those archetypes, main components of air taxis were defined to serve as part of a reference frame for top-level specifications. TLARs are frequently discussed within academia. However, there is neither a clear definition which categories shall be covered, nor a distinction between vehicles for urban and regional air mobility. This study addresses both issues by defining sets of top-level aircraft requirements and main components as a framework for top-level specifications and inserting them into a validation framework. This enables full validation of a complete specification of a given air-taxi, to check coherence to formal, technical and economic requirements. Results are validated with the Silent Air Taxi, a piloted five-seater aircraft currently developed by German start-up e.SAT GmbH.