Sustainable innovation in aerospace

How technologies and materials can help autonomous flying vehicles take to the skies

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The Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market, including autonomous flying vehicles, has proven resilient to recent global disruptions, with major aerospace trials moving forward at a swift pace.

According to Roland Berger consultancy, 67% of the world’s population will reside in urban areas by 2050. Yet the airspace over urban areas is relatively empty.

It’s time to start seriously thinking about autonomous flying vehicles and autonomous drones as a viable mode of transport. 

How is the autonomous flying vehicle market currently innovating?

The autonomous flying vehicle industry is fuelling innovation in aerospace.

It’s also big business, with the UAM projected to grow to USD90 billion by 2050. That year there will be 160,000 drones in the sky, according to Roland Berger consultancy.

In the UK city of Coventry, the UAM market is moving at pace. The ambitious Air-One project has seen Hyundai team up with Urban Air Port to develop the world’s first fully-operational hub for future electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

According to EngineerLive, things are going so well that there are hopes that the hub could be partially operational later by the end of this year.

It’s all part of a promising future of unmanned transportation systems across major cities. But what is the technology behind them, and how can we ensure UAVs function in the best way possible?

What technology is key to UAV?

Compared with traditional aerospace, autonomous flying vehicles requires a hyper-efficient battery.

To function optimally, UAV battery packs must be:

  • Lightweight
  • Powerful
  • Thermally efficient
  • Securely sealed, so no fluids can damage the battery

The role of adhesives in UAV battery packs

Batteries must be bonded together with structural adhesives that are flexible and thermally efficient. These adhesives need to be able to manage heat to ensure reliable battery function.

By partnering with a market-leading supplier with a comprehensive technology portfolio for large-scale battery production and adhesive thermal management, companies can be sure their UAV batteries will function in the best way possible.

Learn more about how we are leveraging our technologies from automotive
e-mobility to Urban Air Mobility.

Regulatory standards in the UAM industry

Regulation is vital for a viable UAM market. Right now, the industry is in its infancy, with no set regulations. But over the next 5-6 years, as the industry matures, this will change.

According to this report by NASA, consumers cite proven safety records and demonstrations as factors that would most increase their level of comfort with UAM.

To encourage consumers to use UAVs and to ensure safety across the industry, regulations will need to be implemented:

  • One for the UAV itself
  • One for the materials used in the UAV

Manufacturers wanting to make their mark in the UAM market must work with highly regulated material suppliers who employ their own comprehensive testing systems.

Sustainability in the supply chain

As in all large commercial industries, production processes and supply chains need to be more sustainable. Partnering with suppliers who use sustainable processes and products, such as Henkel, can significantly lower a company’s carbon footprint.

Advancements in technology and safety are propelling the UAM industry forward at a rapid pace. The industry is open and ready for major players to take their place within it. Manufacturers wanting to make their mark can do so by engaging suppliers with technological and safety expertise who can deliver products in a time-efficient and sustainable manner.

To hear more on UAM industry developments, including innovation in aerospace and autonomous flying vehicles, watch our Expert Talks with Roland Berger and Bauhaus Luftfahrt:

Urban Air Mobility webinar

About the author

Patric Scheidner

Corporate Vice President Global Head of Aviation, Space, Rail

 

Patric has been serving the chemical industry for more than 25 years.
He has mainly supported customers in Heavy Industries across four continents. His focus has been to develop customer-centric organizations and processes following continuous improvement methods, such as Lean Six Sigma. Being experienced in Supply Chain / Operations as much as Sales he fostered a culture of increasing customer value through the optimized combination of chemistry, process improvements, equipment as well as digital interfaces.

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