|The Project||The Team||The Design||Contact Us||Follow @ACEAirships|
Our design office is located in Mountain View, CA near Moffett Field, the former home of the USS MACON airship
Our current team is composed of 3 aerospace engineers, 1 mechanical engineer, 1 business and marketing officer, and technical and business advisers and mentors.
Our goal is to be the leading manufacturer of rigid airships by offering airship solutions to customers that is both timely and cost effective.
How We Are Different From Our Competition
Our designs incorporate Lean manufacturing and DFM philosophy. A trait not largely implemented in the aerospace industry.
We are developing the ability to provide mass customized vehicles to our customers rather than spending years developing a one-size-fits-most design.
We are developing new structure and lift control methods that make our systems more safe and reliable to adequately provide the reliability and longevity necessary in today's business environment.
Primary Target Market
The primary target market is cargo transport. For years this application has been a perceived mainstay for airships.
Traditionally, the Northern Territories of Canada are chosen for the deployment. We; however, believe California would be a better proving ground for this new application of an old technology. This if for a number of reasons. First, there is a large amount of cargo traffic from one end of the state to the other, meaning there is a large amount of traffic on a fairly standard route. Second, anyone who lives in California knows gas here is expensive. So if a transportation solution could be devised that has efficiency and speed better than that of a semi truck, this solution provides the potential for reduced cost and reduced impact on both the environment and traffic along major trucking routes.
Our energy efficiency predictions show that the energy per ton-kilometer to transport cargo by airship can be less than a third that of transporting by semi truck. Furthermore, little infrastructure is needed for airships.
Secondary Target Markets
Secondary markets that can be expanded to range from passenger transport, to cruises, to sightseeing and entertainment venues.
It is our growth hypothesis that once an affordable and timely source for customizable rigid lighter than air vehicles becomes available, the number of applications and the demand for such vehicles will flourish.
Phase I: Architecture MVP Development *COMPLETE*
When first envisioning how to approach this problem, the first course of action was to try it out at a small manageable scale. This initial version is a minimum viable product or MVP. This version is not intended to be fully functional, but rather a demonstration that tests the core functionality of the concept.
The status of this first phase is complete. We have not only developed a vehicle concept that appears to be sound, and highly competitive to traditional designs for rigid airships, but also a manufacturing solution as well. In addition we have developed a set of tools that allow the user to rapidly develop an airship concept and asses its performance based on user inputs. The combination of our design and our tool set enable us to mass customize vehicles to suit individual customer needs without the development time or cost associated with such an endeavor.
While this phase is complete, the work on such an architecture is far from finished. This work will be expanded after our first round of funding to bring our approach and technology to deployment readiness.
Phase II: Structure Prototype *COMPLETE*
The development of a structure concept that deviated from traditional airship structures raised questions of feasibility and ease of assembly. To put these questions to rest a small demonstration model was completed. The model was 2.5 meters long with a diameter of 0.7 meters and consisted of a structure, gas envelope, and rudimentary lift control device. The outcome of this test was identifying where the structure may need to be improved, the realization that nearly all cabling to reinforce the structure can be eliminated, and that our lift control approach was possible though not necessarily economical. There were also a great many things learned about the fabrication and assembly of such a structure.
Phase III: Vehicle Demonstration Prototype *In Progress*
The current phase of the project is the design and construction of a prototype that is fully functional. This prototype is planned to have a velocity of 64 km/h (40 mph), a length of 18 meters (59.1 ft), and a diameter of 3.6 meters (11.8 ft). It is believed this prototype is the smallest that can be built while still providing all the capability and representative materials and processes of its full scale counterparts.
We are currently fund raising for our Phase III prototype. In the coming weeks we will be making our pitch for funding on one of the crowdfunding websites. We will post here when our campaign has officially begun and will also tweet about it to our followers. If you are interested in helping to fund us in our efforts you can use our Donate button located on the top of this page or back us once our crowdfunding campaign begins. Every little bit drives us closer to our goal. Please stay tuned and follow us as our concept develops.