MGI launches cargo eVTOL UAV demonstrator

Specialist consultancy MGI Engineering has launched its cargo UAV technology demonstrator programme.

MGI CEO and founder Mike Gascoyne, former Formula 1 technical director, officially unveiled the demonstrator at the eVTOL Insights London Conference on Wednesday 19th April 2023.

The company is applying Formula 1 development philosophies and mindset to the cargo eVTOL UAV market. Lightweight composite structures with highly efficient, fast-paced iterative design processes are key elements of MGI’s approach to tackling challenges that the cargo eVTOL industry presents, the consultancy said.

MGI has been developing cargo eVTOL technologies for the past year, aiming to provide the services to the wider industry. This has culminated in its Mosquito autonomous technology demonstrators for cargo applications. Its solution focuses on a configurable design with two variants of its demonstrator technology.

The first is a tilt rotor configuration, with two rotors on each corner capable of tilting from 45 degrees in the forward direction to 45 degrees rearward.

The second features eight rotors with direct drive motors distributed across four wings, with all four wings using MGI’s proprietary tilt mechanism used to control pitch and roll. This variant can take off vertically and fully transition to winged flight for long distance missions.

This modular approach, where wings and rotors can be configured according to the mission profile, allows for scalable common platforms using common battery modules to ensure cost performing kilometre-per-mile solutions for cargo delivery.

The vehicle platform concept has also been designed to be scaled-up efficiently to payload capable vehicles carrying up to 500kg. The platform sharing options are inspired by Gascoyne’s automotive experience, having previously worked at McLaren, Tyrrell, Sauber, Renault and Toyota before setting up the Lotus F1 team through MGI in 2009.

“We believe that developing sustainable electric aviation vehicles combined with our unique expertise and experience from Formula 1 of lightweight hybrid composite vehicles is the future of the transport industry and will ease the strain on current methods whilst decarbonising multiple sectors,” Gascoyne said.

“We are very happy to have a fully working demonstrator vehicle that has passed all our tests to date including fully transitioning from vertical to horizontal flight.”

Gascoyne added that the consultancy invites clients, partners and investors to join its vision, with an understanding that bringing aerial vehicles successfully to market requires a multi-disciplinary team across multiple industries.