Specialist consultancy company MGI Engineering (MGI) has launched a cargo uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) technology demonstrator programme.

This announcement sees the specialist engineering consultancy firm enter the newly-emerging cargo electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) industry. The firm says it hopes to bring a fresh viewpoint on how to develop the latest aerospace technology for these aircraft.

MGI CEO and founder Mike Gascoyne, who has worked in senior management and as a technical director level in Formula 1 for over 25 years, officially unveiled its fully functional technology demonstrator at the eVTOL Insights’ London Conference today, 19 April 2023.

UK-based MGI says it is applying Formula 1 development philosophies and mindset to the cargo eVTOL UAV market.

Lightweight composite structures with a highly-efficient, fast-paced iterative design processes are key elements of the company’s approach to tackling the challenges that the cargo eVTOL industry presents and it aims to provide these consultancy services throughout the cargo eVTOL industry.

MGI, founded in 2003, has been developing cargo eVTOL technologies for the past year, with the aim of providing these services to the wider industry. This has culminated in its Mosquito autonomous technology for cargo applications, unveiled today.

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“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,” said Mike Gascoyne, MGI CEO.

“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. We’re excited to see where our development journey takes us and look forward to solving the unique and novel challenges the industry presents us with.”

Gascoyne also previously worked at McLaren, Tyrrell, Sauber, Renault, and Toyota before setting up the Lotus Formula 1 Team through MGI in 2009

The ultra-lightweight aircraft 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 and all four wings use MGI’s proprietary tilt mechanism that is used to control pitch and roll. This variant is able to take off vertically and fully transition to winged flight for long-distance flights.

The modular approach to this vehicle, 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. MGI says the concept can be scaled up efficiently to payload-capable vehicles carrying up to 500kg.