From flying taxis to autonomous planes: how MDO is designing the aircraft of the future

Examining the issues associated with designing the next generation of aircraft and how to choose the right MDO framework.

From the recent pandemic to rising awareness of climate change, innovation is essential for the survival of today’s aerospace industry. While emergent aircraft can deliver the required level of transformative change, many challenges exist to unlock these next-generation designs.

Most of these challenges are practical in nature. Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles, for example, are small flying pods, often battery-powered and used to fly passengers on short intercity trips. From reducing noise to optimizing vertical takeoffs, the logistics of flying safely in urban areas are vast for such vehicles, and a multidisciplinary approach is required.

Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) is the perfect methodology to design new concepts and address complex engineering challenges, helping engineers iterate and discover innovation solutions early in the development process. When working in the conceptual and preliminary design phases, engineers have the freedom to explore the entire design space using MDO.

MDO also unlocks seamless collaboration for innovation and provides a cost-effective and fast solution where an excessive number of physical prototypes is not needed. But the right MDO framework is required to successfully develop the aircraft of the future. In this whitepaper, we examine the issues associated with designing the next generation of aircraft and how to choose the right MDO framework, while introducing the VOLTA platform.

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