Addressing Community Noise Impact from eVTOLs

We, a group of students from UIC, partnered with NASA to work on a conceptual design of large-scale electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle operations at the metropolitan scale. Our design has a specific focus on the community noise impact of eVTOL operations on surrounding households, which can present a major barrier to community acceptance of such futuristic vehicles.

In this study, we will design a two-echelon delivery system where eVTOLs replace trucks by carrying packages from distant warehouses to city/town centers in the first leg, and the second leg will be completed by crowdsourcees to deliver packages to the final customer destinations. While designing such a system, we will look into not only operating cost minimization, but also quantifying and minimizing community noise exposure to eVTOL operations, to ensure operations that are economically feasible and acceptable by communities.

The demographic information from census data will be used along with the propagation of sound generated by eVTOL takeoff and landing operations from a vertiport to create a noise index profile for every available vertiport. This noise index profile will be incorporated in a bi-objective optimization model to minimize the total shipping cost and the noise annoyance generated by eVTOL operation.

Why such a system?

  •  With our ever-increasing transportation demands, the race to augment metropolitan-scale mobility from the current two-dimensional ground transportation to the third, vertical dimension has never been more intense. Therefore, it is high time to anticipate, plan and prepare so that when AAM finally arrives, AAM can function in a not just economically viable but also socially acceptable and equitable manner.
  •  Large-scale operations of such eVTOLs at a close proximity to households will definitely have some community noise impact. Therefore, for any system to be socially acceptable, it needs to explicitly account for the noise impact. Our proposed system will account for both system cost and community noise impact minimization. Such a system will be attractive to both operators and communities.
  •  As for urban deliveries, the last few years have seen an explosive growth of e-commerce which is fueled by the increasing trend of home delivery during the years of the pandemic. To accommodate this home delivery demand, the need for alternatives to traditional truck-based delivery has never been more acute. eVTOL has the potential to take the role of this alternative and therefore, mandates more in-depth attention.

Who are we?

We are a team of doctoral students of UIC from interdisciplinary backgrounds – engineering, urban planning, and business administration. Our team members are:

  • Student Team Lead: Nahid Parvez Farazi, PhD Student, Department of Civil, Materials, and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, UIC
  • Team Member 1: Amy Hofstra, PhD Student, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, UIC
  • Team Member 2: Son Nguyen, PhD Student, Department of Information and Decision Science, College of Business Administration, UIC

Our faculty mentor is Dr. Bo Zou, an esteemed Associate Professor from the Department of Civil, Materials, and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, UIC.

We need your help!

Our research proposal for an eVTOL based urban cargo delivery system has been selected by NASA for funding through the University Student Research Challenge (USRC) program. In 2022, NASA selected four teams nationwide to participate in USRC. We are one of these four teams. As a part of this project, we are asked by NASA to launch a crowdfunding campaign. From this campaign, NASA expects us to collect a minimum of $2,000 donations as a proof of general public interest and outreach of our ideas. This proof will allow us to get access to NASA’s full funding.

If you think that this project has the potential to lead to some positive impacts in the community, please donate to our cause. Your donations will be used to arrange seminars at the UIC campus where distinguished academics and industry experts will be invited to share their perspectives on AAM and its potential for package delivery with students and faculty members at UIC and beyond, to raise general awareness of future urban air mobility.

Upon a successful completion of this project, the research team would be more than happy to share the results and findings with the donors.

Organizer and beneficiary

Nahid Parvez Farazi
Chicago, IL
University Of Illinois Foundation

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