Vertical Aerospace Pioneers Urban Air Mobility with Cloud-First Strategy on Rescale

Leading a New Frontier in the Cloud

In a race to be first to market for urban electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) taxis, Vertical Aerospace invests heavily in engineering talent and digital capabilities that give them a competitive edge. Adapting cutting-edge digital R&D techniques from automotive and aerospace sectors, the team takes advantage of simulation and high performance computing (HPC) to improve their vehicles’ aerodynamics, battery performance, and rotor drivetrain efficiency.

Vertical Aerospace CIO, Madhu Bhabuta explains: “We need new tools to produce a new kind of vehicle – old tools like on-prem computing systems just aren’t sufficient and can be cost-inefficient.” The company decided early on to adopt a cloud-first strategy and pursued a platform to automate and optimised their HPC operations. “Cloud is fundamental for our Business. Access to the cloud HPC technologies means
that we have access to the world’s expertise for solving the toughest aerospace challenges,” added Bhabuta.

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Gaining Engineering Efficiency and Speed for Takeoff

Vertical Aerospace evaluated the Rescale ScaleX platform to see how it could handle a variety of computeintensive workloads by testing a variety of R&D simulation applications. Bhabuta shares: “Anything we can do to maximize the outcomes from our R&D spend and help our engineers to be more productive will ultimately enable us to achieve our goals faster. We recognized that our simulations were not running as quickly as they could, and we looked for ways to dramatically accelerate delivery of results. Additional on-premises HPC infrastructure would require significant capital, and would not suit our changing and varying
computing needs. We needed a way to manage scale, volume, and workload effectively, and deliver a cost-efficient solution for our R&D workloads.”

Kurt Clement, Team Lead for aerodynamics, aero-acoustics, and thermodynamics at Vertical Aerospace comments that “In early testing of Rescale, we realized that we could not only move our HPC operations into the cloud quickly without incurring large CapExr costs, but it was also more than capable of handling a wide variety of our workloads.” With access to the latest Azure HPC hardware on Rescale,
Vertical was able to monitor and adjust the cost-performance efficiency of each workload by finding the optimal architectural configurations and maximising utilisation of software licenses. This helped the company understand where to invest and optimize its R&D resources to deliver
product improvements. Bhabuta adds: “Rescale Insights are a real game-changer, giving us the ability to dive deep into the cost of running HPC workloads—including our various software licensing arrangements— while also strengthening system governance with robust access controls.”

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Charting a Flight Plan to Commercial Success

Vertical Aerospace’s improvements in time and cost efficiency have made them a global leader in eVTOLs and the company plans to go public in 2021. They also have an early lead in commercial offerings with pre-orders from major airlines like American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. Bhabuta, concludes “By choosing Rescale as our strategic cloud partner for digital R&D, Vertical Aerospace has dramatically increased engineering efficiency and accelerated new product commercialization without compromising quality or
safety. These improvements help us drive innovative design and deliver personal, on-demand, and carbon-free air travel.