A Cycloidal Rotor and Airship System for On-Demand Hypercommuting 2016-01-2026
An architecture is proposed for on-demand rapid commuting across congested-traffic areas. A lighter-than-air (LTA) vehicle provides the efficient loitering and part of the lift, while a set of cycloidal rotors provides the lift for payload as well as propulsion. This combination offers low noise and low downwash. A standardized automobile carriage is slung below the LTA, permitting driveway to driveway boarding and off-loading for a luxury automobile. The concept exploration is described, converging to the above system. The 6-DOF aerodynamic load map of the carriage is acquired using the Continuous-Rotation method in a wind tunnel. An initial design with rear ramp access is modified to have ramps at both ends. The initial design shows a divergence sped in access of 100 mph. An effort to improve the ride quality using yaw stabilizers, failed as the dynamic behavior becomes unstable. The requirements for control surfaces and instrumentation are discussed. On-board instrumentation and on-the-fly system identification permit design of an automatic flight control system that could eventually provide a smooth and safe ride.