Eve Air Mobility believes that it is essential to understand community perceptions of eVTOL aircraft, in terms of seeing and hearing them from different locations around a city, if such operations are to be successful. By informing communities about eVTOL operations and learning about perceptions of this new technology, it hopes to optimise eVTOL design and flight operations.
Data about perceptions of eVTOL sights and sounds are not widely available, so Eve is partnering with the Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) to gather data that will support and inform efforts to improve the community experience of UAM operations. NLR has deep expertise in conducting noise and perception studies.
During August, Eve ran a study in Orlando, Florida and New York City to analyse the perception of potential passengers and residents of these cities. The study considered two scenarios: a busier area with higher background noise; and another with lower background noise and closer to residential neighbourhoods. The aim was to understand people's responses to the eVTOL visual and sound footprint by correlating sound level and characteristics with annoyance perception and acceptance. Cutting-edge tools were used to simulate the experience by employing virtual reality and auralisation.
Similarly, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been developing technology for the noise source identification of rotor blades in its large wind tunnel test facilities. eVTOL developer SkyDrive has now begun a joint research project in the JAXA facility to reduce the noise level of its eVTOL aircraft, SD-05.
In addition to its own research on noise reduction, SkyDrive will promote research on the improvement of eVTOL noise estimation technology. eVTOLs currently under development will likely have different characteristics from conventional rotary wing aircraft in terms of lower noise from rotor diameter, layout and system configurations. SkyDrives hopes to be able to estimate and evaluate the noise level of its eVTOL aircraft.
CTO Nobuo Kishi says: "We will use the data acquired through using JAXA's existing noise source identification technology to take us through the major step to developing the flying cars that society needs."