Calculating technical innovation: 4cost determines development and manufacturing costs for AutoFlight air taxi

In order to create optimal framework conditions for the mass production of its air taxi “Prosperity I”, the R&D centre of AutoFlight Europe GmbH in Augsburg worked together with 4cost conducting a cost workshop. The aim was to obtain comprehensive cost transparency for different scenarios in a short time and with manageable effort.


AutoFlight is a global eVTOL pioneer specialising in the engineering and manufacturing of electric air vehicles. The company aims to provide safe, reliable air logistics systems and urban air mobility solutions for individuals. AutoFlight has a research and development centre in Augsburg (Germany), a composite manufacturing facility in Jining/Shandong Province (China) and an operations and testing centre in Napa County (USA).

Prosperity I

Prosperity I
© AutoFlight

The air taxi “Prosperity I” is designed as an eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft) for short passenger transports between city districts, commuter flights to the airport as well as for connections between nearby cities or trips to the countryside.

The focus of the 4cost workshop with AutoFlight was to determine the expected development and manufacturing costs for a revised version of the “Prosperity I”. The value engineers analysed the cost effects of different concepts, different locations for production and assembly as well as the cost impact of different production quantities.

The cost analysis was conducted using the costing software 4cost-aces. Its parametric cost model is capable to derive costs quickly and validly based on technical descriptions and product-specific parameters – regardless of the technology under investigation.

Using the technical sketches and product concepts provided by the client, the 4cost value engineers created a complete product structure in 4cost-aces in coordination with engineers from AutoFlight. Within this structure, all the required parameters were then set, from which the software automatically calculated the expected costs.

In the next step, the product costing modelled in 4cost-aces was transferred to all the scenarios the client requested for evaluation and for comprehensive comparison. “The simplicity and speed of creating and comparing different technical, location and quantity scenarios in 4cost-aces is impressive. The software provides all the reference databases needed for this out of the box,” says Andreas Müller, Senior Operations and Procurement Manager at AutoFlight Europe.

The results of the parametric cost analysis were summarised and provided by the 4cost team in a customised report. The entire project could be modelled, analysed and evaluated within one week. “The big advantage of parametric cost estimation over traditional bottom-up costing is speed. With our approach, you calculate up to 80% faster,” says Joachim Schöffer, Managing Partner of 4cost GmbH.

“Thanks to the workshop with 4cost, we received meaningful and transparent results in a short time, which allows us to take measures at an early stage to secure the profitability of our products,” Andreas Müller summarises the cooperation with 4cost. “In the next step, we plan to use the 4cost software in-house, because we see possible applications in many areas to achieve transparency and thus cost reductions.”