Technology start-up Limosa Inc. is another company looking to enter the advanced air mobility market (AAM) and aims to revolutionise the transportation system and make it safe, fast and easier for everyone to travel.
Made up of experts in aircraft structural design, structural analyses, aerodynamics, designing propulsion systems, flight control and avionics, eVTOL Insights spoke to company CEO Hamid Hamidi, who told us more about its vision for the market and how work is coming along to make it a reality.
Q: Can you talk to us about the background behind Limosa and what led you to set up the company?
Hamid Hamidi: “The utilisation of the zero-emission transportation system attracted industry interest in recent years to solve the current problem of air pollution in big metropolitan areas. Second issue is the time-wasting in heavy traffic using ground transportation systems.
“This leads us to think about using air as the third dimension to provide a faster, easy to use and cheaper transportation system. Electric air vehicles would be the right solution to overcome these two issues as they are zero-emission vehicles, and they add air to traveling routes.
“This idea becomes our main goal to establish Limosa Inc. in order to provide a faster, cheaper and cleaner traveling system. Our vehicle is named LimoConnect and is a bio-inspired aircraft in which its body originated from a bird named Limosa.
“LimoConnect will be equipped with electric engines which provide vertical take-off and landing making it a zero-emission transportation to carry people through their lives. The vertical take-off and landing capability of LimoConnect results in easy picking-up people in congested cities.
Q: What value do you think the company can bring to the growing advanced air mobility market?
HH: “Limosa Inc. has the potential to meet the demands of advanced air mobility market including the operational efficiency, reduction in human intervention for intercity and intracity transportation using LimoConnect, and growing investment activities around the world are key factors expected to drive the market value.
“Contribution in infrastructures needed to integrate air mobility to the existing public transportation system. The construction of vertical take-off and landing pads (i.e. vertiports) of LimoConnect, in addition to integration to aerospace and other modes of transportation, would be our contribution to the growth of the advanced air mobility market.
“The capabilities and potential use of LimoConnect as point-to-point passenger service provider throughout urban areas, rural areas, air ambulance function and cargo transportation will satisfy the growing advanced air mobility market. Overcoming some challenges of eVTOLs such as public acceptance, safety, social equity, issues around planning and implementation.”
Q: What can you tell us about Limosa’s aircraft and its specifications?
HH: “LimoConnect is a seven-seater aircraft configurable to all-cargo and autonomous options, featuring a pilot and six passengers. The preliminary design has 10 electric motors out of which six motors will be installed on the main wing and four motors on the curved tail wing. Tilting rotors will provide transition from take-off to cruise position.
“The aircraft is designed for a distance of 150 miles at a speed of 200 miles/hour. We want our aircraft to create a noise level of 67 dB at maximum, so that it can be easily used in the urban areas. This will be at least 100-times quieter than a helicopter.
Q: And what does your development roadmap look like, do you have a plan towards certification?
HH: “Our masterplan from beginning to the final commercial phase: Manufacturing an aircraft to demonstrate the capabilities of electric VTOL
The main stage in production of a prototype eVTOL is the manufacturing. This stage consists of the following steps:
Conceptual design: The Limosa’s conceptual design is bio-inspired which comes from Limosa bird. The first conceptual aircraft based on its mode of transportation is scaled and designed
Aerodynamics analyses: The computational fluid dynamics (CFD) team has a hard work to design the fuselage, wings, propellers, and blades. The aerodynamics optimisation is the major job at this step to come up with the highest efficiency of the aircraft. The high fidelity CFD simulation tools are applied for optimisation in early design stages which play a strategic role in enabling the aircraft key requirements through novel shaping. Reducing the aircraft noise while having high efficiency is one of the key points of the aerodynamic analysis
Structural design and analysis: A new generation of eVTOL aircraft will be designed mostly with composite fuselage and wing structures. The state-of-the art composite materials will be used for the aircraft which have advantages such as high strength-to-weight ratio, high stiffness-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and high durability. For structural design and stress analysis, vibration, buckling, etc., the high-fidelity FEA tools as well as optimization process will be conducted in which a design loop procedure will be carried out. The analysis process includes initial sizing, detailed analysis, manufacturing and structural testing, and finally full vehicle analysis
Electrical design and flight controls: The propulsion system of LimoConnect will consist of 10 PMSM brushless motors which need 760 kw energy for hovering and 140 kw for cruising. The power system consists of battery packs, battery monitoring system and converters. The battery packs are embedded in the wings and nacelle of the propellers. The flight control system consists of hover and cruising controllers which are using Linear Quadratic Regulator to stabilize the vehicle.
Prototype manufacturing: Our prototype manufacturing site will be constructed, and the first prototype will be manufactured with the aim of achieving Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) certification. Manufacturing expertise in producing highly complex parts such as composite fuselage, wings and interior components as well as battery powertrain, propellers, electric motors will be hired.
Detailed design and full scaled flight test: The flight test includes evaluations on aircraft flight dynamics, performance and handling qualities which consists of performed banking manoeuvres, tests on yaw, pitch and roll, as well as acoustic data and vehicle communication with controllers. The final goal of flight tests is to meet the protocols of flight safety
Certify eVTOL aircraft that is just as safe as commercial airliners: “The certification stage is the main milestone to operate our eVTOL for urban air mobility missions. To achieve this goal, we will start the process of applying for a Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) certification including airworthiness and environmental requirements necessary for full certification of LimoConnect. The next step is to focus on carrying out necessary testing and methods required to demonstrate safety and compliance of our aircraft.”
Launch commercial routes in cities & integrate autonomous systems for safety: “Our first purpose is to establish an air taxi route in Québec as a regional airline in which our plan is to provide journeys from point A to B to become a practical mode of transportation in Canada. By considering our plan to reduce the price of air taxi, we aim to integrate the air taxi with other forms of public transportation with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to minimise the total commuting time.”
Q: Does Limosa have any regions in particular where it plans to enter the market?
HH: “As mentioned above our aim is to design LimoConnect to be able to give service in the regional state in our lovely province Québec, Canada. The reason that we focus on regional aircraft rather than urban area vehicles, is that for the latter, the complexity of public acceptance and safety of these vehicles will take much more time to get certification. That means that the regional electric aircrafts will be easier to get certified.”
Q: What excites you the most about the advanced air mobility market?
HH: “Our interest is to advance the benefits of sustainable air mobility. By creating the world’s leading air mobility network, we will help push the world towards a zero-emissions future.”
Q: When do you think you could be starting to fly prototypes of your aircraft?
HH: “The chart below shows the preliminary timetable of our project. We plan to certify LimoConnect by 2025.”