JAXA Yamato eVTOL Cargo Pod

JAXA (Tokyo) — Japan Aerospace Exploratory Agency (JAXA) and Yamato Holdings have announced their collaboration on a cargo pod for an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aerial system. The two organizations have worked together in designing and evaluating the aerodynamic shape of the PUPA8801 heavy-size eVTOL cargo pod.

PUPA8801 is a 400 kilogram payload-class variant of the PUPA (Pod Unit for Parcel Air-transportation) series which Yamato has been developing, and is transportable by either being loaded onto existing ground transports together with conventional load units, or else externally attached onto future eVTOL aircraft.

During ground transportation, the pod needs to follow existing cargo unit size standards and be as rectangular as possible in order to maximize its capabilities. On the other hand, the pod is also required to obtain high aerodynamic performance as it is intended to be attached to the aircraft externally to enable rapid loading and unloading. Regarding these constraints, PUPA8801 had to be designed in an innovative manner that differs from traditional aerospace and logistics equipment.

To cope with this issue, Yamato has conceptualized the pod based on its know-how on ground logistics that originates on its century-old business, and from studies on cargo eVTOL system the company has performed. For this initial concept, JAXA provided expertise in aeronautics and performed a series of computational fluid dynamics-based analyses for improving aerodynamic efficiency, using its high speed fluid analysis tool FaSTAR. The organizations held an open discussion to turn the hypotheses construction and evaluation loop rapidly and verified its aeromechanical feasibility within a period of about four months.

Based on these results, Yamato will further develop the necessary components for the new-age eVTOL logistics service that the company is intending to become by the early 2020s.

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