Ergonomic evaluation involved in an eVTOL vehicle design process for the application of future transport operations in urban ecosystems
Authors: Upb- Julián García, Sebastian Munoz Pelaez, Pablo Alvarado
Abstract: As the global population grows every year, urban terrestrial transportation is becoming severely challenged by mobility problems. Because of this phenomenon, an increased interest in electric aerial vehicles adapted for operation in urban environments presents itself as one of the best solutions among urban developers and big aerospace companies. This trend represents a considerable solution to increased congestion, delays, accidents, and environmental problems. With the foreseen apparition of said vehicles in the global market and the development of concepts of operation that promote the emergence of urban air mobility (UAM) ecosystems, there arises a need to study the design factors associated with electrical Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft. In this process, ergonomics plays a significant role in the daily use of the vehicle and its interfaces with the end user. This study aims to evaluate what a proper cockpit arrangement would be for a personal eVTOL aircraft from an ergonomics standpoint. It achieves this by identifying several factors regarding pilot posture, comfort, safety, and general interaction with the vehicle (flight controls and instrument panel) and, with the design and construction of a testing rig, to recreate a single-seat eVTOL aircraft cockpit. Known methodologies based on postural analysis methods are used to determine how this affects pilot performance and flight safety and define the preliminary cockpit geometries before subject trials. Testing is conducted on the model with the use of test subjects with varied anthropometric measurements spanning the expected percentile range for the operation, and with this performing a validation of the human joints’ comfortable angles biases digital human models with computer simulation software. Additionally, a modified Cornell Musculoskeletal Discomfort Questionnaire (CMDQ) was conducted to suit operating conditions in these vehicles better, and the results obtained were used as constant feedback from the test subjects to adjust the testing rig properly. The outcome of this is a proposed arrangement for a single-seat cockpit for an eVTOL aircraft with specific dimensions, which can accommodate a considerable range of differently sized people to make the vehicles as accessible, comfortable, and safe as possible from an ergonomics perspective.
Keywords: comfort, ergonomics, eVTOL, UAM, cockpit, digital human models, test rig, MSD, anthropometry
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