Xplorair: A New Mobility Concept

By Richard
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Xplorair PX200

Here is one of our current Passion for Innovation projects: Xplorair.

When I was approached about it, I immediately thought, “Wow! Here is The Fifth Element taxi!” That being said, it quickly became obvious that Xplorair was a solid project, lead by an experienced aero engineer named Michel Aguilar.

The candidate projects we favor most in Passion for Innovation must bring something new and exciting to the world. There was no doubt about the excitement Xplorair generated when I read the proposal. And as for innovation, well, I’ll let you decide for yourself:

The Xplorair is a vertical take-off and landing without rotative wing vehicle based on the Coanda effect.

What is the Coanda effect? To put it briefly, it’s the ability of a fluid flow (liquid or gas) to “stick” to a convex surface and to attract it. It has been studied by the engineer Henri Coanda, therefore its name. A simple demonstration of this effect can be done by holding a sheet of paper by one of its ends, with one hand on each corner of that end. Blow on the piece of paper while aiming your breath between your hands, and you will see the free end of the paper rise up.

Congratulations! You have shown that upper surface blowing creates a bearing strength. This is what Xplorair is based on. If you blow on a wing’s upper surface, you will take off. If the wing is in fact made of two articulated parts with the jet engine blowing somewhere in the middle, it’s enough to change the angle between the two wing parts to make the transition between vertical take-off, and regular, horizontal flight.

The Coanda effect has already been used on some aircrafts to bring additional bearing strength and reduce take-off distances. However, Xplorair is definitely a breakthrough as it is the FIRST aircraft entirely relying on this effect for BOTH take-off and flight.

To spice up the project, Xplorair will treat the subject of greener mobility. The engine– a brand new kind of engine called a thermoreactor– is a second technical breakthrough in its own right. It will use second generation biofuels (i.e. non threatening for food nor biodiversity), and some cabin elements, such as the control panel and seats, will be made out of agro-materials.

Xplorair will come in several versions (1, 2 or 4 seats). For starters we’re working to develop the monoseat version, the PX200 (for Personal Xplorair, 200 km/h).

The Xplorair team is using CATIA V5 as the 3D CAD software for design, SIMULIA and CAA-partner CD-Adapco solutions to simulate the vehicle in operation.

So, is Xplorair an airplane? a flying car? a flying motorbike? No matter what you call it, it’s a new mobility concept.

And who could give this concept a shape if not DS Design Studio? I’m happy to announce that we just started the ideation phase with Anne Asensio’s enthusiastic and creative team. They were already sketching during the meeting. ;-)

Stay tuned for more info about Xplorair in future 3D Perspectives blog posts.

Keep 3D-ing!



P.S. Unfortunately, neither Bruce Willis nor Milla Jovovich will be delivered with the final product, just in case you’re wondering . . .

Mission Design, Follow the Spiral

By Kate
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Bernard Charlès, our president and CEO, is always talking about the Spiral of Innovation. At Dassault Systèmes, it’s integrated everywhere and tooted as a key to creating incredible products, keeping customers and investors happy. In fact, we believe in the Spiral of Innovation so much that we asked architects to integrate several symbolic spirals throughout our new global headquarters, DS Campus. (I’ll let this marinate in your imagination for now; more later on in another blog post.)

So you may not be surprised to learn that the DS Design Studio philosophy (and therefore mission) is also based on a spiral.

The Spiral of Innovation and the Spiral of Design (inspired by the Golden Spiral ) are kind of like siblings with the same parents and genetic makeup. A double helix is a spiral too, and doesn’t it determine identity?

But before I go into the Spiral of Design, let’s look at the official DS Design Studio mission statement:

“Creative people boosting innovation for design excellence.”

Short, sweet, and notice that innovation word.

A concrete way to boost “innovation for design excellence” is to bring designers into the 3D fold, i.e. have them design in a language/medium that will serve as the basis for a product’s genesis as it circulates though the industrial lifecycle. Design intention is easier achieved because it’s innately embedded into the virtually designed product, eliminating interpretation mistakes.

Bernard Charlès talked about this last year when he appointed Anne as vice president of design experience:

“Our 3D solutions are the ideal medium for designers, where they can intuitively and freely play with concepts, and then have them perfectly realized through 3D PLM. Design Experience and PLM are strategies that naturally fit together and will benefit all actors in the product ecosystem.”

In a way (hang with me here), this grafts designers, their philosophy and processes onto the PLM Spiral of Innovation. For design excellence to really shine, we need to “superimpose” the design spiral to the PLM spiral.

Anne gets excited when she talks about the Spiral of Design, how it starts with usage scenarios, or human needs and desires, and spirals to creative problem solving, the design of products, products within our environment, environments composing our experiences, and our experiences within our real lives. Think design experience with, as Anne likes to say, “human at the core,” verses product features and engineering details. This is the philosophical layer of the Spiral of Design.

There is also a practical layer to the Spiral of Design, the design process. Imagine, create, share and experience. Looking holistically at the Spiral of Design, it begins with “human at the core” and ends in human experience.

I just checked our latest Spiral of Innovation and am happy to see the Design elements have already made their way to the official slide. Now referred to as the “Innovation Integration Process Centered on Virtual Experience,” it starts with human experience and then moves to design, simulate, produce and ends with human experience, with management ( i.e. management of ecological requirements) in the spiral’s center.

I’m feeling a little spiraled out now, aren’t you? ;-)

To get a more practical look at what the DS Design Studio is about, in my next post I’ll start to examine its ‘four pillars’ and invite you to stay tuned.

Here are the four pillars we’ll examine:

• Design Image
• Design R&D Solutions
• Design Experience
• Design Ecosystem

By the way, I’m not and don’t claim to be a Design expert; the way I look at it is we’re learning together through 3D Perspectives. You may be interested to see how DS Design Studio communicates with design experts on their official website, which will go live around the time of the European CATIA Forum, better known as ECF.



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