Joby Aviation has been granted 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 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 September 2023 was 41%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Electric aircraft system with tilt mechanism and propulsion assemblies

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

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11753159B2) 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 that allows 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. The propulsion system of the aircraft comprises multiple propulsion assemblies, each consisting of an electric motor and a propeller. These propulsion assemblies are mounted on the support members, with inboard and outboard propulsion assemblies on both sides.

One notable feature of the propulsion assemblies is that the propellers are rotatably coupled to the electric motors at a fixed angle of attack relative to the wing chord line. This fixed angle of attack is non-zero and is between 3 degrees and 9 degrees.

The patent also mentions additional features of the aircraft system, such as the inclusion of left and right outboard propulsion assemblies mounted on the wings. 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 tilt mechanism is configured to rotate the left and right wings less than 90 degrees between the forward and hover configurations. The aircraft system does not include traditional control surfaces like elevators, ailerons, or rudders.

Furthermore, the propulsion assemblies are designed to generate a net lift vector opposing the weight vector during flight, with at least 25 percent of the net lift vector generated during forward flight. The propulsion assemblies can also simultaneously regenerate electrical energy and generate a net moment about the aircraft's center of mass.

The system includes landing struts that project rearward of the inboard and outboard propulsion assemblies, providing support during vertical take-off and landing configurations.

Overall, this granted patent describes an electric aircraft system with a unique configuration and features that enable efficient and versatile flight capabilities.

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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.