Supernal and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have partnered to explore airborne transportation and advanced air mobility (AAM). With the companies planning to develop an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) network, the two are therefore collaborating with the city of Los Angeles to study this aerial transit mode.
The eVTOL vehicles are planned to integrate with the city’s already existing transportation networks, which will hopefully save time and decrease congestion around high-density areas.
The new project will mainly focus on the feasibility, opportunities, and challenges of building eVTOL stations (known as vertiports) for future autonomous air vehicles. To do this, NREL researchers are evaluating variables such as potential locations, travel destinations, and energy demand that signify ideal candidates for the network. The analysis will further answer questions such as the energy costs, market viability, public acceptance, station distribution, accessibility, and environmental sustainability of the vertiport program.
“Our research will compare AAM flight options with the existing and emerging mobility infrastructure within Los Angeles,” explained NREL’s Keith Ropchock, Partnership Manager for the project. “In identifying vertiport candidate locations, NREL will inform the network map and business plan for Supernal’s airborne passenger vehicles.”
Another side of the project will compare travel time, price, and vertiport access to analyze the travel demand across passenger demographics. This market analysis is done to further assist in identifying optimal locations for vertiports.
Jaiwon Shin, CEO of Supernal, remains positive. “We look forward to working with NREL to explore this new dimension of mobility. This research will allow our team to design a product that integrates with and augments existing transit options and effectively serves local community needs.”
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