ASST Safety Eco-System for eVTOL Aircraft

Our Safety Eco-System for electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) Aircraft uses various technologies to protect occupants and the public in the event of an emergency.

ASST’s eVTOL Safety Eco-System consists of 4 elements:

  • Video / Artificial Intelligence Look-Down System
  • Emergency Descent Arrest System (EDAS)
  • Ergonomically Designed Stroking Crashworthy Seats for eVTOL Aircraft
  • Military Video / Artificial Intelligence GPS Denial of Service Mitigation System

Video / Artificial Intelligence (AI) Look-Down System

The ASST Video/AI Look-Down System continuously views the ground under the flight path to identify the best current landing sites.

The system can also report back via 5G to central control to update the latest status of both pre-designated emergency landing sites between Vertiports and ad-hoc landing sites.

The project is supported by advice from leading UK eVTOL manufacturers and a major flight control system supplier. All four of the Civil Aviation Authorities we approached were positive about the concept some noting that it will be essential for fully autonomous eVTOLs (i.e. no pilot on board).

Emergency Descent Arrest System (EDAS)

We are working with Aviation Safety Resources (a leading supplier of ballistic parachute recovery systems for light aircraft and eVTOLs) to develop the EDAS which provides a Zero Altitude – Zero Speed safety system that protects pilots, passengers, and civilians in the event of an eVTOL crash.

Zero-Zero Safety System

EDAS uses a combination of parachutes and retro-rockets with specific sequences for each emergency circumstance; which allows the system to control the descent rate and achieves a safe, soft landing.

eVTOLs currently have basic redundancy measures (i.e. backup systems) built in, but redundancy does not deal with all the possible critical issues, especially large bird strikes.

Ergonomically Designed Stroking Crashworthy Seats for eVTOL Aircraft

Stroking seats have long been used in helicopters and offshore racing power boats to absorb the energy from vertical movement and protect the occupant.

ASST has an agreement with a leading Israeli supplier with many years of experience in designing energy-absorbing seats with a focus on ergonomic designs and the very best protection levels against high-G loading scenarios which can cause spinal injuries.

These seats will be marketed to eVTOL aircraft manufacturers, offering an exceptional patented energy absorbing mechanism to protect against the rapid deceleration created during a hard landing or crash. The seat will be manufactured from advanced materials using a unique manufacturing process that the company developed in-house.

Military Video / Artificial Intelligence GPS Denial of Service Mitigation System

Many US Army, UK and NATO armored vehicle systems rely on GPS, and not just for location

It is very easy to disrupt or jam the GPS signal and adversaries have powerful systems to do this.

The system will offer both GPS location and situation awareness for military applications.

Reality of Bird-Strike

Both the FAA in the USA and EASA in Europe are specifying only a 1kg bird strike test but most bird strikes are with significantly heavier birds, gulls at 1.5 to 2kg being the most common. Geese weigh 5 to 6kg, and swans 10 to 12kg. Strikes by these are likely to be catastrophic with weight-critical eVTOLs.

13,000 bird strikes are reported annually in the US, averaging 35 per day with many others unreported.

Helicopters are especially vulnerable due to operating at low level. eVTOL’s will generally fly even lower with short flights between vertiports to save energy.

Cities are all built around bodies of water (lakes, rivers, the coast) which all attract these large, flocking water birds.

Multiple system redundancy is not going to stop large birds crashing through the windscreen and entering the cabin, possibly incapacitating or killing the pilot.

Bird strikes bringing down eVTOLs operating in the UAM role over crowded cities are highly likely.