Traffic. We have all been through it. But while this daily occurrence may seem like an annoying obstacle to your next destination, this contributes to a global problem. Here’s our solution. As of 2018, 8 billion tons of Carbon dioxide were emitted from transportation, including planes, buses, and cars. 75% of all global emissions as of 2018 were emitted within cities, 90% of which are coastal, and two-thirds of all energy is used within cities globally. In 2016, San Francisco reported that 42% of its carbon emissions came from cars and congestion emissions. Not that bad, right? Except that a report from CNBC demonstrated that cities underestimate their carbon emissions by a whopping 20%!
Traffic congestion plays a major role in transportation emissions. A study by The University of California at Riverside shows that just moving from 35mph to 55mph can drastically reduce carbon emissions from all vehicles from 166 tons to 146 tons within a Southern California highway.
Some companies have already begun to introduce autonomous VTOL, or electric vertical takeoff and landing. The only issue is, they have low approval and are limited by their current fuel economy, which means there is a large cost in maintaining infrastructure for a non-existent demand until 2040.
While Hydrogen fuel cars are also an alternative, a study by the University of Toronto shows that 90% of all car emissions are produced from the bottom 25% of fuel economy cars. In other words, Hydrogen fuel cars can lightly reduce emissions, but can not reduce congestion.
Here’s the idea: a hydrogen-powered Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) flying car. The model is estimated to hold up to 7 people during a single ride and can travel over 70 miles within the VTOL form. Meaning there can be vertishops, (or landing sites) spread across further distances, reducing cost. Likewise, the hydrogen fuel car can go 300 miles in a single charge according to automotive technologies, as compared to 200 with an electric battery.
Oh yeah, did I mention you don’t have to be a professional pilot to operate the machinery? It is a completely autonomous car-plane hybrid. SEL will be using a series of AI models which will be used to conduct autonomous processes.
NLP (Natural Language Processing)- NLP will be used to understand ATC to make correct interchanges and altitude changes
CV (convolutional layer)- SEL will have 15 surrounding ultrasound sensors and cameras which will be used to detect other vehicles and surroundings
RNNs (Recurrent Neural Networks)- RNNs will be used to process data from ATC like other aircraft and their altitudes throughout airspace, restricted airspace. Also mathematical calculations to determine where to land and to merge back onto the road if entering the airspace.
CNN's (Convolutional Neural Networks), to recognize landing pads and obstacles.
It will use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand the ATC and correct interchanges and then make altitude changes. An amazing overview of NLP can be found here: https://medium.com/@ageitgey/natural-language-processing-is-fun-9a0bff37854e
In order to give the SEL car the ability to move and maneuver properly and effectively, it will use a CV AI to modulate the different cameras and sensors around the vehicle. The cameras and ultrasonic sensors are used to detect other vehicles and surroundings.
Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) will also be used to detect landing pads and obstacles. CNN's are incredibly effective in image, speech, and audio input recognition. They work by utilizing layers of nodes. Each of these layers contains an input layer, one or more hidden layers, and an output layer. Each node connects to another and has an associated weight and threshold. If the output of any individual node is above the specified threshold value, that node is activated, sending data to the next layer of the network. Otherwise, no data is passed along to the next layer of the network.
The SEL car will also feature Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN) to process data from ATC like other aircraft and their altitudes throughout airspace, restricted airspace. It will also use mathematical calculations to determine where to land and to merge back onto the road if entering the airspace. RNNs are types of artificial neural networks which use sequential data or time-series data. These deep learning algorithms are commonly used for ordinal or temporal problems, such as language translation, natural language processing (NLP), speech recognition, and image captioning; they are incorporated into popular applications such as Siri, voice search, and Google Translate.
To ensure safety from cyberattacks, i.e hacking ODB-II ports (Bluetooth), there are special precautions on the AI made to follow safety protocols if something goes wrong. Our AI will be acquainted with an internal machine learning model called ElasticSearch that logs and analyzes data while it is stored and can easily detect malicious activity. As SEL data logs are being stored within the system, ElasticSearch can make an algorithm to detect malicious activity easily.
In order to effectively construct and manufacture the product, there are three general considerations:
- Performance vs. Weight- The heavier the material, the more power is consumed, making the model more costly. To lighten the load on the exterior model, while optimizing manufacturing efficiency, SEL uses VICTREX AE 250 thermoplastic composites that are based on PEEK (Polyether ether ketone) polymer-based materials. They are well-tested in high-temperature performance, corrosion resistance, general mechanical properties, and acoustic protection. They have very similar properties to PEEK, in that they have similar glass transition temperatures. PEEK and thermoplastics have the ability to reduce weight by 40% and have 5 times the strength of an average metal. VICTREX AE 250 is also shown to be capable of moving up to 6 times faster than conventional thermoplastics, which have outcompeted standard metals.
- Noise Suppression- for the gears, PEEK polymer-based gears are shown to reduce noise by 50%. Compared to iron gears, Polymer-based gears lower weight and inertia by 68–78% respectively. It is also worth mentioning the thermal-acoustic-blanket, which uses burn-through barriers to help insulate the cabin. While these polymer-based materials require specific expertise, it is very much implementable.
- Production cost and Speed Optimization- Thermoplastic composites also reduce cost from 5–23% due to the flexibility and lower melt temperature of the material. Thermoplastic composites can be produced more quickly. It is available using a unidirectional tape and is processed using Automated fiber placement drop-off mode, which is used to create composite parts by multiplying and stacking the unidirectional tape layers in an automated process, avoiding manual operation. Thermosets, however, must be maintained in a cold environment and have a limited shelf life. Thermoplastic composites are also recyclable, do not use solvents, and have a longer lifespan compared to thermosets.
Propulsion systems and fuel:
SEL uses reversible hydrogen fuel cells, which means that they have the same fuel economy as a standard fuel cell vehicle, which already outperforms electric cars by 100 miles according to AutomotiveTechnologies, except that it can be produced using solar and wind power. For review, hydrogen fuel cells release heat and water as byproducts, making them environmentally friendly. A survey in 2017 shows that a majority of auto executives believe hydrogen power cars will outcompete electric cars. VTOLs using hydrogen power already exist, and generally outperform average electric batteries in distances past 50 miles. The propulsion system will follow a relatively similar model to typical hydrogen power VTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing).
Diagram of hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems
- Hydrogen Fuel Stack- the heart of the system, which makes direct current electricity using electrochemical processes
- Fuel Processor- a reformate will be used to remove the impurities from the fuel cell as it is heated, such as carbon monoxide, which slightly diminished fuel life. This allows for the fuel cell to process and creates electricity
- Power conditioners- this system manages the voltage, amperes, frequency, and other characteristics that are needed to perform a specific function. The conversion process reduces efficiency by 2–6%.
- Air Compressors- As pressure increases, performance increases. An air compressor with a 75–80% efficiency will increase the pressure within the fuel cell, and an expander would be used to recover some of the high-pressure exhaust.
- Humidifiers- Fuel cells contain a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) that exchanges protons to convert chemical energy into electricity. These membranes do not work unless they are moist. By keeping one inlet of the humidifier dry and the other moist, the humidifier reuses the water produced in the fuel cell before it releases.
The system is set up as an autonomous taxi, where users download an app, choose their point B, and await their incoming VTOL. While SEL travels, there will be vertishops every 40 miles, each of which will cost 30,000 a year. Because SEL is also a car, it can easily land in parking spaces with its rotational wheels and vertically land. The vertishops will include landing spaces, repair stations, hydrogen fuel stations, an operator, and traffic managers. Local gas stations can also be available if they have hydrogen fuel stations available. SEL can vertically land as a car and recharge. (It’s the equivalent of Tesla Supercharger stations)
While flying in urban areas for VTIK may be around 2.5USD/km, it is estimated that a lot of these costs will fall dramatically for optimization, i.e replacing platinum anodes with nanoparticles and improving cybersecurity.
Let’s be honest, if you told someone to get on a vehicle to fly at low altitudes, piloted by a computer, they would be scared. My computer can’t even run zoom properly.
According to a Nasa literature review, these are the optimal standards for passenger journeys:
Each of these standards is integrated into the actual autonomous systems, and issuing a command means that SEL can not exceed any of these limits when flying.
Also, cloth seats, as well as an insulated blanket, will optimize the customer experience.
SEL is an environmentally friendly VTOL system that is convenient and efficient for traveling from city to city, or just to avoid traffic. Download a mobile app, wait for your vehicle, and hop on.
SEL is a way to take the crow’s path, literally.
NOTE: 2in1 Tires developed by Goodyear
Visit seljet.com to learn more about the product