Joby Aviation. has filed a patent for an electric aircraft system that includes a payload housing, an airframe with wings and support members, and multiple propulsion assemblies. The system utilizes larger rotor blades and adjusts blade pitch and RPM to generate lift and thrust, eliminating the need for additional control surfaces. The wings can also be tilted to switch between forward flight and hover configurations. GlobalData’s report on Joby Aviation gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Joby Aviation, Photovoltaic drones was a key innovation area identified from patents. Joby Aviation's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Electric aircraft system with tilt mechanism and multiple propulsion assemblies

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO). Credit: Joby Aviation Inc

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230166838A1) describes an electric aircraft system with unique features. The system includes a payload housing and an airframe consisting of left and right wings. The wings are connected to the payload housing through a tilt mechanism, allowing the aircraft to transition between a forward configuration and a hover configuration.

The airframe also includes support members mounted on the wings, with inboard and outboard support members on both the left and right wings. These support members house a total of eight propulsion assemblies, each comprising an electric motor and a propeller. The propellers are fixed at a specific angle of attack relative to the wing chord line.

The patent claims specify that the fixed angle of attack is between 3 degrees and 9 degrees. Additionally, the system may include additional outboard propulsion assemblies mounted on the wings.

The wings of the aircraft system have specific structural elements. The left wing has a torsional stiffening member extending from the tilt mechanism to the left outboard propulsion assembly. The inboard left support member has an anti-lateral torsional stiffening member that does not intersect the torsional stiffening member of the left wing.

The propellers of the propulsion assemblies define a disc area and a disc plane, with a hub at the center of the disc area. In the forward configuration, the hubs of certain propulsion assemblies are positioned below the base of the payload housing.

The tilt mechanism is designed to rotate the left and right wings about a tilt axis, which is rearward of the center of mass. The wings themselves have an anhedral shape.

Notably, the electric aircraft system described in the patent does not include traditional control surfaces such as elevators, ailerons, or rudders. Instead, it relies on the tilt mechanism and the propulsion assemblies to control flight and change heading.

The system is capable of generating a net lift vector opposing the weight vector during flight, with the propulsion assemblies contributing at least 25 percent of the net lift vector during forward flight. It can also change heading during forward flight without banking.

The patent also mentions the inclusion of landing struts, which project rearward of the inboard and outboard propulsion assemblies. These landing struts support the aircraft system during vertical take-off and landing configurations.

Overall, the patent describes an electric aircraft system with a unique configuration and control mechanism, offering potential advantages in terms of flight performance and maneuverability.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.