LaunchPoint News

LaunchPoint's Pioneering Electric Aircraft Design Tool, MAAP™, Makes Commercial Debut

Posted on Mon, Mar 22, 2021

 

GOLETA, California – As transportation and aerospace companies ramp up development of flying vehicles to meet the mobility demands of the future, they face significant up-front costs and modeling uncertainties that slow down the design process.

LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion Solutions, Inc., a Santa Barbara-area aerospace propulsion innovator known for its patented electric motors, hybrid-electric propulsion systems, and control software for drones and flying cars announced today it has released a pioneering tool to help companies fast-track aircraft propulsion systems designs.

The Modeling Advanced Aircraft Propulsion (MAAP™) tool allows developers to virtually model “what if” configuration scenarios for new electric and hybrid-electric aircraft systems including varying power levels, number of rotors, battery and fuel levels and overall system layouts. This means that engineers can discover what a vehicle’s powertrain “looks like” based on different propulsion system models before they build a prototype that may not be optimized or work reliably, thereby avoiding costly mistakes early in the design process.

“MAAP™ will allow companies designing cutting-edge aircraft to shorten design cycle time while unlocking system performance and weight,” said Rob McDonald – former Aircraft Design Lead at Uber Elevate, Industry Expert, and LaunchPoint advisory board member.

“Most vehicle development teams in this space rely on off-the-shelf, commercial systems to meet aggressive timelines. They do not have the luxury of an in-house powertrain design team tooled up to perform complex trades concurrent with the vehicle design or to consider bespoke motors and drives. However, it is through this tight integration of powertrain and vehicle design teams that challenging eVTOL concepts become feasible,” said McDonald. “At LaunchPoint, we have successfully used this tool to develop our own motors, controllers, and propulsion systems for electric flight. With LaunchPoint and MAAP™, any aircraft design team has access to a world-class, in-house motor and drive design capability."

The MAAP™ tool is available today for broad industry licensing.

LaunchPoint’s announcement of the MAAP™ tool comes at a time when companies are rushing to develop electric and hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL) — small and medium-sized aircrafts that can be used as flying taxis, cars, and for cargo transportation. The anticipated growth of this market has resulted in many nascent firms being valued as multi-billion dollar companies, leading to a flurry of company mergers, acquisitions and public offerings through partnerships with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). LaunchPoint, which originally developed the MAAP™ tool with funding as an Uber Elevate partner, recently completed its first license of the tool to an overseas automaker. Company executives expect the tool will become a key resource for many other fast-growing eVTOL firms.

undefined

The MAAP™ tool offers electric and hybrid-electric aircraft designers invaluable trade study results and design optimizations early in the design process.

The MAAP™ tool was used extensively for the development of LaunchPoint’s first products - the 6 KW hybrid-electric genset for drones and the 40 KW genset for larger drone cargo and future air taxis. The company is now employing MAAP™ to create higher-power propulsion system solutions for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) market applications. The types of aircrafts being developed for the AAM markets are widely regarded as the future of urban airborne transportation.

“LaunchPoint is uniquely positioned to work with air vehicle integrators to help design aircraft propulsion systems and to validate designs for the Advanced Air Mobility market,” says Rob Reali, LaunchPoint’s CEO. “In addition to the MAAP™ design tool we also provide a suite of electric motors, controllers, and generator sets that are ideal in certain classes of vehicles this exciting industry is developing.”

MAAP™ Overview

· Optimizes a motor and drive combination at multiple (unlimited) operating points subject to dozens of constraints at each point.

· Operational and design constraints have been identified and modeled based on LaunchPoint's decades of experience.

· Analyzes the off-design performance of motor and drive combinations.

· Readily performs system-level trade studies including requirements trades, operating point trades, and technology trades -- MAAP™ will even perform simultaneous combined trade studies.

· Unlocks weight and performance for your design.

 

Outputs

· System performance across the operating envelope including:

· Current and voltage at key system nodes,

· Internal and external temperatures,

· Power loss breakdown identifying sources of heat and inefficiency,

· Component and system efficiency, and

· Proximity to all operational constraints.

· System mass including mass breakdown to constituent parts.

· System and component dimensions, including electrical specifications of primary components.

· Virtual specification sheet.

About LaunchPoint

LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion Solutions, Inc. is an aerospace propulsion company whose top-level engineers have more than a decade of experience working together to develop and supply electric motors and hybrid-electric propulsion systems with smart control software for unmanned air vehicles, aerospace power generation, and the Advanced Air Mobility markets. Visit www.LaunchPointEPS.com to learn more about the Company.

Contact Chris Grieco, Vice President of Business Development and Sales at cgrieco@launchpointeps.com for more information about the MAAP™ tool and the Company’s products.

LaunchPoint EPS featured in the Santa Barbara News-Press

Posted on Tue, Feb 16, 2021

Goleta startup develops technology to propel future of air transportation


LaunchPoint’s development of air propulsion generators help to power large drones and are paving the way for the future of air travel.

Picture this. You want to take a day trip to Los Angeles, but you don’t want to deal with the traffic. What if instead of driving, you could take an emission-free flying car?

It might sound like something straight out of “The Jetsons,” but engineers say we could see flying cars on the market within the next two decades.

In fact, LaunchPoint, an aerospace startup in Goleta, is already creating and testing highly technical air propulsion systems that will pave the way for the future of air transport. 

Situated in a small office space behind Habit Burger in downtown Goleta, LaunchPoint engineers are working to develop hybrid-electric generators that can be used to power large cargo drones and, eventually, flying cars. 

RAFAEL MALDONADO/NEWS-PRESS
LaunchPoint’s executive staff from left to right: Brian J. Clark, director of engineering and program management; Christopher J. Greico, vice president of business development and sales; Cyrus Morici, chief financial officer; and Rob Reali, chief executive officer.

“Our work is going to personally affect everybody by changing the paradigm for which goods and services and people are delivered,” CEO Rob Reali told the News-Press. “You really will see here, within 24-36 months, your Amazon package being silently delivered to your doorstep instead of a UPS person or a postal service person starting at 5:30 a.m. driving all over the city to drop off packages.”

This futuristic technology has been developed by LaunchPoint engineers for more than a decade, and the company is in the process of selling its latest development, the HSP GenSet 40 kilowatt generator, to leading air mobility firms all over the world. LaunchPoint generators are battery-powered, making them emission-free and efficient. 

The startup is currently distributing its first 10 prototypes to potential customers, with five already shipped to potential buyers. Mr. Reali told the News-Press the startup is on the cusp of achieving the next level of success once their potential customers are satisfied with the prototype development. 

RAFAEL MALDONADO/NEWS-PRESS
LaunchPoint CEO Rob Reali behind the scenes at LauchPoint’s headquarters in Goleta.

LaunchPoint’s HPS400 GenSet 40 kilowatt generator is the firm’s latest development, which can power large cargo drones for up to two hours.

Though the company only launched six months ago as a spinoff of the think tank LaunchPoint Technologies, it is already in contact with some of the top Fortune 500 companies all over the world. 

“Just one contract changes who we are in terms of growth and success,” Mr. Reali said. 

The company is already racking up grants from the Department of Defense for the development of larger generators that will power flying cars for future Air Force Missions. Just in the last six months, the company won two inaugural awards from the Air Force, providing it with over $1 million in grants to develop larger generators with longer flight times. Currently, LaunchPoint’s largest generator can power drone flights for up to two hours.

“The Air Force is becoming the preeminent Department of Defense organization to support flying cars,” Chris Greico, vice president of Business Development and Sales, told the News-Press. “(The Air Force) needs them  on the battlefield, whether its logistics, delivery, rescue or extraction.”

LaunchPoint engineers build generators on-site in Goleta from the ground up.

Companies like Amazon and Uber are sitting at the forefront of the air mobility movement, investing billions into the future of large drones and air taxis. Car companies such as Hyundai are in the early stages of designing flying cars, and LaunchPoint’s generators will play a role in powering the flight technology. 

Though flying cars are still over a decade away, drone technology will take a leading role in the delivery of goods within the next three years, LaunchPoint executives said. 

 

As drone delivery becomes more accessible, in-person delivery is expected to take a back seat. However, Mr. Greico stressed the job opportunities for postal workers and delivery drivers.

“You need drone pilots. You need people to service drones and there will always be customer follow-up,” he  said. 

“If this gets big enough, it’ll employ, looking at the net amount, way more people than it displaces.”

Please visit the Santa Barbara News-Press to view the full article

Seed Funding Round for Electric Aerospace Firm, LaunchPoint, met with Investor Enthusiasm

Posted on Thu, Feb 11, 2021

 

Dr.BurtonTripathi2021Headshot   CyMorici2021

At left, Dr. Burton Tripathi is a newly- elected member on LaunchPoint’s board. At right, Cyrus "Cy" Morici recently joined LaunchPoint as Chief Financial Officer.

 

GOLETA, California – LaunchPoint, a Santa Barbara-area, aerospace startup that develops electric motors, hybrid-electric propulsion systems and control software for drones and flying cars, announced today that it closed an oversubscribed round of seed funding.

The robust investor response comes just six months into LaunchPoint‘s creation by a team of engineers and business executives, who spun the company out from cutting-edge engineering design incubator, LaunchPoint Technologies in Goleta. Since starting as a new business in June of 2020, LaunchPoint has entered multiple contracts with commercial aerospace and automotive companies and secured more than $1 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop hybrid-electric flight technology and flying cars.

“The success of our seed funding round confirms what we see every day – That there’s significant interest in our technology and the advanced air-mobility propulsion solutions we provide,” said Rob Reali, LaunchPoint’s CEO. “Investors clearly have confidence in our business plan, management team, and talented engineers. This funding accelerates production for existing orders and will bolster our ability to manufacture products in quantity and expand our operations.”

With the seed funding, LaunchPoint has made key new hires, boosted its manufacturing capabilities and expanded the company’s patent portfolio, providing growing protection for the firm’s engineering breakthroughs within an expanding field of international competitors. Demand for electric flight propulsion systems is rising rapidly and LaunchPoint expects that trend to continue, Reali said.

LaunchPoint is currently selling two hybrid-electric propulsion systems - the 6kW hybrid-electric genset for drones and the 40kW genset for larger drone cargo and future air taxis. The company is also developing new products for the higher-power UAV and Advanced Air Mobility markets. Firms in these markets are working to build electric and hybrid-electric cargo delivery as well as passenger-carrying aircrafts that are widely regarded as the future of aerospace transportation.

“We’ve achieved all this in the middle of a pandemic and are able to create good jobs,” Reali noted. “We’re looking forward to a strong year with customers in 2021.”

Additionally, the company recently added two new team members: Cyrus “Cy” Morici as Chief Financial Officer and Dr. Burton Tripathi as a board member.

Mr. Morici has over two decades of finance and accounting experience with successes in M&A and exit strategy. Most recently he worked as CFO for Pacific Design Technologies, a leading designer and manufacturer of complex, highly engineered components and assemblies for the commercial and defense aerospace industry. He helped increase the company’s valuation, streamlined financial reporting, and provided strategic guidance culminating in a successful exit. Prior to PDT, Mr. Morici was Director of Finance for NuSil Technology where he was a key contributor on buy and sell-side M&A transactions. He helped raise over $700 million in term loans culminating with an IPO readiness and S-1 filing initiative. Mr. Morici is a veteran Big-4 accounting firm alumnus.

Dr. Tripathi is currently General Manager and Head of Visualization R&D at Alcon. Prior to Alcon, Dr. Tripathi served as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer at TrueVision Systems, where he guided the company to a successful exit coupled with a complex, simultaneous spinout of the company’s non-ophthalmology business. Dr. Tripathi is a McKinsey & Co. management consultant veteran with expertise in advanced technology, life sciences, and corporate finance.

 

--LaunchPoint EPS is located at 5735 Hollister Ave., Suite B, in Goleta. For more information call 805-683-9659 or visit https://www.launchpointEPS.com/.

Aerospace Startup, LaunchPoint, Releases New Hybrid Generator for Electricity-Powered Flight

Posted on Fri, Jan 29, 2021

 

LaunchPoint EPS_40kW GenSet PR Photo_2

 

GOLETA, California – A newly released, hybrid-electric generator system developed by Santa Barbara-area startup, LaunchPoint, opens up new possibilities in the fast-growing field of hybrid electric-powered flight. The product is currently available only from LaunchPoint and is shipping to domestic and global customers.

Created by a team of elite engineers over a decade, the LaunchPoint HPS400 GenSet is a 40kW generator with the capacity to power large drones and flying vehicle missions that require extended ranges of flight. This innovative technology offers new opportunities for companies working to develop extended-flight, airborne transportation and cargo delivery systems for what’s known as the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) markets.

Until now, the 40kW market has been underserved. LaunchPoint developed the HPS400 GenSet with the goal of fulfilling this unmet demand, and sales of the product have been swift since its release.

“We’re thrilled to announce the launch of this 40kW hybrid power system,” said Rob Reali, LaunchPoint’s CEO. “Given our work the past ten years in the space, we know this is a product that the market wants and needs, and we’re excited to see how quickly the AAM markets continue to adopt our hybrid electric propulsion systems.”

 

Highly efficient and power-dense, the HPS400 GenSet uses LaunchPoint-patented technology including an air-cooled alternator, lightweight aircraft engine, software and controls and a battery management system that allows for in-flight battery charging.

Other features include SmartPoint Control Software, an air-cooled alternator and electronics, CAN communications to the flight controller for monitoring system status, automatic throttle control to match the bus load and share power with the battery, and fans and radiators sized to ensure sufficient engine cooling in hover and other low airflow conditions.

LaunchPoint is delivering the new 40kW genset along with its 6kW hybrid-electric genset to commercial aerospace, automotive and air taxi companies globally. The firm has also secured more than$1.25 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop hybrid-electric flight technology for flying cars.

Started six months ago as a spinout from Goleta-based technology incubator and think tank, LaunchPoint Technologies, LaunchPoint has already secured multiple patents, product sales, and contracts for both commercial and government markets. The Company plans to further expand its team and manufacturing capabilities in the coming months to meet growing demand for electric flight propulsion systems.

For more information about the LaunchPoint HPS400 GenSet, contact Chris Grieco, Vice President of Business Development and Sales, at 1-805-679-3072 or via email at cgrieco@launchpointeps.com

LaunchPoint EPS is located at 5735 Hollister Ave., Suite B, in Goleta. For more information call 805-683-9659 or visit https://www.launchpointEPS.com/.

Budding Electric Aerospace Firm, LaunchPoint, Secures Several U.S. Department of Defense Contracts

Posted on Mon, Jan 25, 2021

 

Santa Barbara-area company awarded $1 million to develop hybrid-electric flight technology for U.S. Army, and two U.S. Air Force contracts to work on flying cars.

GOLETA, California – LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion Solutions, a pioneering California startup that produces electric motors for the aerospace industry, has been awarded several U.S. Department of Defense Contracts in its first six months in business.

The fledgling aerospace development company has received a $1 million Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Army to develop technology for hybrid-electric flight. The U.S. Department of Defense also recently awarded LaunchPoint and its partner Georgia Tech two contracts to help develop flying car technology for the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime program.

“We applaud the vision of the U.S. Department of Defense in helping fast-track development of this groundbreaking technology,” said Chris Grieco, LaunchPoint’s global vice president of business development and sales.

“Ultimately, it will require a solid investment from the U.S. government to ensure the electric flight industry achieves its full potential through certification,” he continued. “This combined with the very large, global strategic moves now being made by the conventional aerospace firms, automotive companies and well-backed, experienced, private developers leaves no doubt this is a dawn of a major industry.”

In addition to defense contracts, LaunchPoint is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to explore advanced manufacturing techniques for its lightweight aerospace motors. The company has also secured multiple commercial contracts and orders with aerospace and automotive companies.

LaunchPoint is currently shipping two versions of its hybrid-electric propulsion systems – the 6KW hybrid-electric genset for drones and the 40KW gensets for larger drone cargo and future air taxis. These are designed for extended-range flights and expanded mission capabilities.  Future products in planning now address the coming, higher-power Urban Air Mobility market applications.  These low-altitude passenger-carrying aircraft utilizing hybrid-electric and pure electric flight are widely regarded as the future of aerospace for urban transportation.

The company plans to test its proprietary flight products with drone customers through the first quarter of 2021. Company executives expect a larger volume of sales to follow as demonstrations and testing garner visibility from large customers globally.

“We have more than doubled in size since June and continue to hire key personnel and implement manufacturing upgrades. We are seeing exponential interest in our advanced modeling tools and products for both drones and the future Urban Air Mobility markets” said Rob Reali, LaunchPoint’s CEO. 

Reali said the Company is constantly expanding its patent portfolio, providing protection for the firm’s engineering breakthroughs within a growing field of international competitors. As the markets grow, LaunchPoint expects to lock up critical intellectual property in the space, Reali said.

Please visit sUAS News to view the orginal article

Electric Aerospace Propulsion Supplier, LaunchPoint, Piling up Early Milestones

Posted on Mon, Jan 18, 2021

 

Company begins shipping products to customers and secures new U.S. Department of Defense contracts.

GOLETA, California – LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion Solutions, a pioneering California startup that
models and produces electric motors and hybrid-electric propulsion systems for the aerospace industry, has hit several milestones in its first six months in business.

The fledgling aerospace development firm has begun shipping two versions of its hybrid-electric propulsion systems to commercial and defense customers. To date, the Company’s contracted customers include the U.S. DOD, large U.S. DOD contractors, aerospace and automotive companies, and more.

LaunchPoint’s initial products - the 6 kW hybrid-electric GenSet for drones and the 40 kW GenSets for larger drone cargo and future air taxis – are designed for extended-range flights and expanded mission capabilities. Future products in planning now address the coming, higher-power Urban Air Mobility market applications. These low-altitude passenger-carrying aircraft utilizing hybrid-electric and pure electric flight are widely regarded as the future of aerospace for urban transportation.

The company plans to test its proprietary flight products with drone customers through the first quarter of 2021. Company executives expect a larger volume of sales to follow as demonstrations and testing garner visibility from large customers globally.

“We have more than doubled in size since June and continue to hire key personnel and implement manufacturing upgrades. We are seeing exponential interest in our advanced modeling tools and products for both drones and the future Urban Air Mobility markets” said Rob Reali, LaunchPoint’s CEO.

Reali said the Company is constantly expanding its patent portfolio, providing protection for the firm’s engineering breakthroughs within a growing field of international competitors. As the markets grow, LaunchPoint expects to lock up critical intellectual property in the space, Reali said.

In addition to its commercial contracts and orders, the company has received a $1 million Small Business Innovation Research grant from the U.S. Army to further develop its technology for hybrid electric flight. The U.S. Department of Defense also recently awarded LaunchPoint and its partner Georgia Tech two contracts to help develop flying car technology for the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime program.

“We applaud the vision of the U.S. Department of Defense in helping fast-track development of this
groundbreaking technology,” said Chris Grieco, LaunchPoint’s global vice president of business development and sales. “Ultimately, it will require a solid investment from the U.S. government to ensure the electric flight industry achieves its full potential through certification. This combined with the very large, global strategic moves now being made by the conventional aerospace firms, automotive companies and well-backed, experienced, private developers leaves no doubt this is a dawn of a major industry.”

LaunchPoint is also collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA)
to explore advanced manufacturing techniques for its lightweight aerospace motors.

40kW gense

Pictured is the newly released 40 kW GenSet product which began shipping globally to customers in
November 2020

Electric Propulsion Start-Up LaunchPoint EPS Targets Drones, EVTOLs

Posted on Mon, Jan 11, 2021

 

By Graham Warwick
Aviation Week

LaunchPoint EPSʼ pancake electric motors could be integrated into stacked rotors for eVTOL air taxis.
Credit: LaunchPoint Technologies

Backed by 11 years of technology development, a new startup has been launched onto the market to provide electric propulsion systems for aircraft, starting with drones but aiming ultimately at urban air mobility.

Goleta, California-based LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion Solutions (EPS) has been spun off from technology incubator LaunchPoint Technologies, which has been developing power-dense Halbach-array electric motors since 2009.

The company is focused on commercializing motors, hybrid-electric gensets and control software developed by LaunchPoint, as well as modeling tools for designing electric aircraft propulsion systems.

The startup is scheduled to deliver “mature advanced” prototypes by early 2021 “that are ready to fly with five different customers, three commercial and two defense-related,” said Robert Reali, CEO of LaunchPoint EPS. Reali was previously chief operating officer with an eye surgery device startup.

Initially, the company is marketing 6-kW and 40-kW hybrid-electric power systems to extend the flight times of unmanned aircraft. These systems comprise a reciprocating engine, motor/generator, battery pack and an integrated engine, generator and bus controller.

“Urban air mobility is going to be huge, but we need revenue so near term we will address hybrid-electric propulsion for extended flight with large VTOL [vertical-takeoff-and-landing] drones,” says Michael Ricci, chief technology officer.

LaunchPointʼs integrated hybrid power system creates an electrical microgrid on the aircraft that can enable multiple gensets and batteries to be used for redundancy. The companyʼs SmartPoint control software manages that redundancy to provide reliability, Ricci says.

In parallel with pursuing the initial drone market, the startup is developing larger motors in the 100-250-kW range to power the lift rotors on electric VTOL air taxis. A prototype 250-kW system is to be ready by the first quarter of 2021. “That will take us solidly into UAM,” Ricci said.

LaunchPointʼs electric machines are an axial-flux design based on dual Halbach-array rotors sandwiching an ironless stator. This provides high efficiency with good specific power, the company says. Power output can be scaled up by stacking motors together.

A Halbach array is an arrangement of permanent magnets that augments the magnetic field on one side of the array while canceling the field on the other side. LaunchPointʼs “pancake” motor has two arrays separated by an axial gap.

The spinning rotors naturally pump air through the axial gap, self-cooling the machine and removing the need for liquid cooling. The high efficiency reduces waste heat and “self-cooling is a huge system weight saving,” Ricci said.

LaunchPoint EPS is also marketing the Modeling Advanced Aircraft Propulsion (MAAP) modeling and design software. Developed with funding support from NASA, Uber Elevate and automaker and eVTOL developer Hyundai, MAAP allows vehicle designers to perform multidisciplinary
optimization with propulsion in the loop, said Brad Paden, chief scientist.

MAAP enables joint optimization of motor and drive system with all their design constraints, and allows a designer to quickly size a propulsion system and consider different options, Paden said. The software enables designers to make decisions early and avoid the cost of multiple
prototypes, Reali said.

While most developers of conventional aircraft are forced to select an existing piston or turbine engine and design around it, with electric technology “there are all these knobs you can play with and reasonably expect to build a bespoke propulsion system for your vehicle,” Ricci said. EVTOL production volumes are expected to be high enough “that all the pieces in the propulsion system can be optimized.”

Please visit Aviation Week to view the original article

LaunchPoint EPS Featured in Pacific Coast Business Times

Posted on Mon, Jan 4, 2021

 

LaunchPoint EPS, Pacific Coast Business Times, Plugging Into Flight

LaunchPoint EPS Develops Electric Flight Systems in Goleta

By Jorge Mercado
Staff Writer, Pacific Coast Business Times

GOLETA, California – LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion Solutions is technically a startup, but the company was formed by a group of scientists in Goleta who have been making a difference in the area and the world for the past 30 years.

Those efforts, by the team from now defunct LaunchPoint Technologies, include helping to invent Inognen’s portable oxygen device and making advances in green power energy storage. The new project, led by LaunchPoint EPS CEO Robert Reali, is focused on electric motors—the kind that could revolutionize air shipping and travel.

Before joining LaunchPoint, Reali was the chief operations officer of Santa Bar-bara-based TrueVision, a company that started with four employees and eventually grew to become a major eye-surgery device firm that was acquired by Alcon in 2019.

“It’s one of the most satisfying things for me personally,” he said, referring to his experience with TrueVision. “I’m a perfect fit to work with brilliant scientists and guide them to turning it into a product into a profitable enterprise.”

LaunchPoint’s focus is on electric motors and controllers for urban air mobility, such as flying cars, and hybrid electric flight with unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.

Major breakthroughs in electric flight technology would revolutionize travel, making it possible to move things—and even people—much quicker and with a much smaller environmental footprint.

“I believe all the pieces of this puzzle are on the table now. We do have all the technology that is necessary to make it work,” Paulo Iscold, an aerospace engineering professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, told the Business Times over email. “Maybe the puzzle has too many pieces now, too complex and complicated, and that is the reason that is being difficult to make it happen. Maybe some disruptive technology will come in the future and will make the puzzle simpler, but we have all we need now.”

As a result, some big companies have already started investing in the flying cars market, which is still a decade or two away from producing any products.

“Hyundai has a $1.5 billion investment in air mobility, Uber has announced air taxis, Amazon wants to deliver packages using drones and air mobility is a legislated market that the government is starting to enable,” Reali said.

Where LaunchPoint fits in this market is providing those big players with the electric motors for such vehicles or drones.

“We’ve got a very novel lightweight, power-dense, electric motor that’s super efficient, and that’s our advantage over all the competition,” Reali said. “Every company building these cars. We want to be their suppliers … and there’s a huge demand to be filled so we are accelerating our growth because we have very mature products that are ready to go to market.”

Flying cars are still years away, with most needing very powerful electric motors upwards of 100 kilowatts. Currently, LaunchPoint offers a six kilowatt electric motor and a 40 kilowatt motor.

“That’s where we are now, and we want to engage in the flying car industry and work with those companies to make those 100, 250 kilowatt motors and advance to that,” Reali said.

While that is their extended focus, LaunchPoint currently has five major customers for whom it has developed pro-pulsion systems, a system for getting one object from one place to another. This includes selling drone motors and controllers and hybrid systems to different U.S. military agencies.

“Our business plan is really two-fold: Selling the products now, growing into those larger programs of record with the U.S. Army, the Marine Corps, etc., and get-ting onboarded to be a key team member for the large urban air mobility developers.” said Chris Grieco, LaunchPoint EPS’ vice president for global business development and sales.

Reali said the company had obtained $2 million in contracts and revenue for 2020.

“We look to triple that next year, based on some of these mature prototypes turning into orders,” he said.
The company is in the process of closing its first round of seed money, Reali said, and has grown from 12 employees to 20 in six months.

The company hopes to add more engineers, which is a big reason why the team wants to stay in Goleta.

“I’ll give you two reasons why we stayed: UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo,” Reali said. “There’s just something about this area that promotes open thinking, engineering interest, and inventing interesting things.”

For now, LaunchPoint is set up to be a big player in the urban air mobility market, whenever that day comes.

“Air mobility is a new step in the aero-space industry that can represent a new paradigm to be explored,” Iscold said. “If we succeed to put this puzzle together, and if the market demand really happens, the volume of the business that this will generate might be huge."

Rob Reali PCBTPhoto: LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion Solutions CEO Robert Reali at the company’s Goleta headquarters. LaunchPoint EPS develops electric engine systems for drones and is working toward electric engines that could propel flying passenger vehicles.

Please visit the Pacific Coast Business Times to view full article. 

New Aerospace Firm, LaunchPoint EPS, Prepared for Takeoff into Electric Aircraft Markets

Posted on Thu, Nov 5, 2020

New Aerospace Firm, LaunchPoint EPS, Prepared for Takeoff into Electric Aircraft Markets

Seasoned startup executive, Robert Reali, to lead venture


GOLETA, California – A team of high-level engineers and business executives from Santa Barbara are betting big on the future of electric-powered flight with the formation of a new startup, LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion Solutions (LaunchPoint EPS).

The fledgling aerospace firm emerges from longstanding, Goleta-based technology incubator and think tank, LaunchPoint Technologies, a leader in cutting-edge engineering design. LaunchPoint EPS will specialize in supplying cutting edge modeling and design software, hardware in the form of electric motors, hybrid gensets and controllers, and control software for the world’s fast-growing electric-and hybrid-electric-powered aircraft sector. This includes flight applications under development by companies such as major automotive companies, Uber and its air taxi affiliates and the U.S. military, ranging from cargo-carrying drones to airborne passenger taxis.

Robert Reali, an experienced leader of early-stage technology companies, will serve as LaunchPoint EPS’ Chief Executive Officer. Reali was previously chief operations officer for Santa Barbara-based startup TrueVision where he helped grow the company from four employees to a major eye-surgery device firm that was acquired by Alcon (a division of Novartis) in 2019.

LaunchPoint EPS has acquired all the assets and know-how of LaunchPoint Technologies related to the electric motor, hybrid-electric gensets and controller business including patents, intellectual property and proprietary processes, contracts, product orders, inventory, facilities, key personnel, and employees.

“The new company is focused on serving the surging urban air mobility market which has increased the demand for our power-dense electric motors and control software by the world’s largest players in this space,” said Reali. “The main reason for the spinout from LaunchPoint Technologies is to focus on shipping the products we invented. However, we will also continue the tradition of developing innovative new products to address market needs.”

LaunchPoint Technologies co-founders UCSB Professor Emeritus Dr. Brad Paden and brother, Dave Paden, will be part of the LaunchPoint EPS management team serving as Chief Scientist and VP of Manufacturing, respectively, along with former CEO and now LaunchPoint EPS Chief Technology Officer Mike Ricci, and Engineering Director Brian J. Clark. Chris Grieco, previously Executive Vice President of bulk energy storage company Gravity Power, LLC, will serve as LaunchPoint EPS’ Vice President for Global Business Development and Sales.

LaunchPoint EPS is located at 5735 Hollister Ave., Suite B, in Goleta. For more information call 805-683-9659 or visit https://www.launchpointEPS.com/.

LP_ManagementTeamFlareA110320

Photo L-R: Robert Reali (Chief Executive Officer); Brian J. Clark (Engineering Director); Brad Paden (Chief Scientist); Chris Grieco (VP of Business Development & Sales); Dave Paden (VP of Manufacturing); and Mike Ricci (Chief Technology Officer).

LaunchPoint Technologies Announces Award Selection for DoD-Army Phase II SBIR

Posted on Mon, Jul 22, 2019

LaunchPoint Technologies was recently selected for the award of a DoD-Army Phase II SBIR: "Electric Machines and Hybrid Drives for Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Tactical Air Vehicles"

A hybrid electric vehicle architecture can use the low-weight, high-power advantage of electric motors in conjunction with the high specific energy of liquid fuel to create a VTOL aircraft capable of long missions. A transitioning vehicle is an ideal architecture for hybrid propulsion technology due to the large difference in power for hover and cruise. In this system, the battery power would augment the liquid fuel for hover and then switch to exclusively liquid fuel during cruise. Transitioning vehicles that rely on conventional liquid fuel architectures are very complex and suffer from the limited specific power of liquid fuel engines and high hover power requirements; hybrid technology can enable simple architectures for transitioning vehicles and take advantage of high specific power electric motors. High-reliability hybrid-electric transitioning vehicles could replace many of the Army’s large UAVs that currently need a catapult system, or a runway for takeoff. A highly reliable hybrid propulsion system is the key ingredient for these types of VTOL UAVs. In this phase I, LaunchPoint Technologies plans to further develop a hybrid propulsion system in the 80 kW range for VTOL systems with an innovative fault detection and response module.

Link to Army SBIR Announcement Website