Startups, Accelerators, & Entrepreneurs

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Startup Shorts: Range Aero uses Model-Based Design to Develop Unmanned Delivery Drones

Today’s e-commerce has eliminated the need to shop at a physical store. Consumers can and do have nearly anything delivered—groceries, medications, even a car. This convenience comes at a cost in terms of increased strain on delivery services and the logistics coordination behind them. Supply chains must operate seamlessly from product manufacturers to delivery drivers. However, labor shortages and increased traffic in urban areas complicate almost every aspect of the process.

Supply Chain in the Sky

Range Aero is an India-based startup working to address one aspect of supply chain challenges. They built an autonomous vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft for freight hauling. The unmanned aircraft can quickly deliver goods between checkpoints like warehouses and airports.

In urban areas, including Indian cities with severe traffic congestion, these aircrafts can transport cargo much faster than land-based methods like trucking. The newest aircraft, the Jestar, travels at speeds up to 150 kmph (93 mph). This speed moves goods within the supply chain significantly faster than a vehicle on the highway, let alone on busy city streets.

System-Based Engineering Approach

A model-based design approach is at the center of development for Range Aero. As a startup, they are prone to the typical challenges young companies face – limited resources and time, and doubts to overcome. MathWorks tools were key to overcoming these obstacles.

Building a new aircraft is no small or inexpensive task. The team bases their scaled approach on NASA’s systems engineering approach. They used Simulink to model various prototypes of their aircraft, each one building upon another.

With MathWorks tools, they were able to rapidly test and revise their models before producing larger scale prototypes. This saved time, energy, and potentially the cost associated with a faulty prototype.

Having validated, scaled models that build upon each other also helped with potential investments. They had something to demonstrate instead of merely a concept.

MathWorks Support for Startups

Startups or students with a product idea commonly believe that powerful industry tools like MathWorks are too expensive. But MathWorks offers programs that support early-stage entrepreneurs. Through the accelerator program, Range Aero accessed free tools while building their technology. After the accelerator program. MathWorks offers support via low-cost software access and guidance from product experts at MathWorks.

What does this mean for Range Aero? More time and energy spent bringing their technology to market to combat increasing global supply chain complexities.

Hear more from Arpit Sharma and Rahul Jayaprakash of Range Aero:

To learn more about Range Aero’s aircraft and how they used MathWorks tools, read the full article here:





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