The goal of Rensselaer’s latest research center is to pursue cutting-edge research in vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft technologies.
Earlier this month, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) held a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Uber Elevate Director of Engineering Mark Moore, as well as representatives from Terrafugia, Boeing, Aurora Flight Sciences, and Bell.
While the opening of RPI MOVE is partly driven by interest in vertical lift technologies from the Department of Defense, the director of the new center Farhan Gandhi higlights the “tremendous buzz” around eVTOLs. Ghandi believes that the use of distributed electric propulsion, as well as autonomous operation could “completely change the mobility paradigm.”
MOVE has already acquired 21 Ph.D. students and is working on projects having to do with VTOL aeromechanics, multi-copters, advanced VTOL configurations, control and autonomy, flying qualities, diagnostics and structural health monitoring, computational fluid dynamics, experimental aerodynamics, nano-materials, and design optimization.
In short, RPI MOVE is designed to be an innovation hub producing students with unique technological knowledge for VTOLS and a wide range of innovative VTOL projects.
RPI has already started releasing educational material, including the “Dawn of eVTOL” speech by Mark Moore, the “The Electric VTOL Revolution” kickoff presentation from the Vertical Flight Society , and the “Electric VTOL: Current Status & Technical Challenges” panel featuring representatives from Boeing, Aurora Flight Sciences, Terrafugia, and Bell.
Why it’s important: The creation of the RPI MOVE center speaks to the future growth of the eVTOL industry. As more and more eVTOL developers begin to emerge, there will be more and more demand for graduates with expertise in Vertical Lift. Rensselaer has recognized this by forming MOVE.