INCityTakeOff - Studies on noise emissions from drone taxis

Dronetaxi test bench
© Fraunhofer IBP / Benjamin Müller
Measurement of sound radiation from drones in the laboratory.

What will mobility look like in the future? While the use of air taxis is still fiction for many, a number of start-up companies have already launched the first prototypes of so-called UAVs (Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles) or eVTOL aircraft (electrical Vertical Take Off and Landing). In the not too distant future, these mostly unmanned aircraft will be used to transport not only parcels but also passengers.

In the INCityTakeOff project, the Department of Acoustics at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP is already examining how the regular use of such cargo drones will affect inner-city traffic noise levels and is developing appropriate concepts to minimize their impact on overall environmental noise.

Project goals

The INCityTakeOff project represents the basis for automated and networked flying in urban environments. The aim is to systematically develop eVTOL planning scenarios with concrete implementation criteria. The main focus is on issues concerning vertiport concepts (drone airports / landing fields), approach and departure corridors, safety distances, load parameters for buildings and noise & emission parameters.

The elaboration of requirements for developing planning processes includes, among other things, urban planning concepts, building parameters, airspace, aircraft and user participation. With the aid of noise grid maps, flight routes can be optimized both from a logistic and acoustic perspective, taking state-of-the-art noise protection measures such as sound-absorbing façades into account at the same time.

Current project status

While measurement methods and limit values for road and rail vehicle noise have been around for decades, today’s techniques for measuring aircraft noise only apply to conventional passenger aircraft, sports aircraft and helicopters. Consequently, requirements and planning tools, measurement methods, assessment levels, limit values and calculation techniques need to be redefined.

A catalog of requirements for constructing and operating a vertiport on the roof of a railway station building is being drawn up. Climate maps and noise maps that simulate the scheduled operation of drone taxis are being drawn up on the basis of laboratory eVTOL measurements. Both the propagation of outdoor noise, including the superimposition of existing types of noise and structural noise control measures in the neighborhood, are considered.

Following an analysis of potential resonance effects as well as a vibro-acoustic analysis of the “proof-of-concept” building, possible noise control measures for residents and passers-by will be derived.

Project partners

  • IEDMS e.V.
  • City of Ingolstadt
  • Skyports Ltd.
  • Lilium GmbH
  • ifd / Digithinx GmbH
Titelbild des Projekts INCityTakeOff
© IEMDS e.V.
Project photo INCityTakeOff.
© Fraunhofer IBP
Simulation of noise propagation with results embedded in noise map.