Advancing San Diego Company Spotlight: Aeromutable Corporation

The Advancing San Diego (ASD) Internship Program launched in Summer 2020 in a remote-capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully subsidized interns. This program targets companies with 100 employees or less, which comprise 98 percent of all businesses in San Diego, employ nearly two thirds of San Diegans, and account for 70 percent of job growth. A key issue for these companies has been a lack of time and resources to recruit the skilled talent necessary to continue their growth.

As students are closing out their Fall engineering internship experiences, EDC has rolled out this blog series to highlight the innovative local companies that comprise the second cohort of the program, and the interns they hosted.

In this feature, we sat down with Sandra Manosalvas-Kjono, co-founder and COO at Aeromutable Corporation. As part of the second cohort of host companies, Aeromutable Corporation develops low-profile and unintrusive technology capable of dynamically modifying the aerodynamic behavior of ground vehicles.

Read on for more from Aeromutable Corporation co-founder Sandra Manosalvas-Kjono.

Tell us about your company?  

Aeromutable is bringing aerospace technology into the trucking industry. Our first product being developed in San Diego is an active fuel savings device that dynamically optimizes heavy vehicle performance based on its surroundings and provides three times the fuel savings of its nearest competitors, increasing the trucking industry’s profitability while significantly reducing its carbon footprint.

Why was your company founded, and what are your current points of focus?  

Through their doctoral work at Stanford University, the co-founders of Aeromutable studied the effect of aerodynamic drag on heavy vehicle fuel consumption and identified the impact real time sensing devices have in the optimization of its performance. Aeromutable was founded to fulfill the mission of developing and commercializing technology that has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while improving the bottom line of the trucking industry. With the support of various institutions, which include the Stanford TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy through the Chain Reaction Innovations program, Aeromutable is working towards fulfilling its mission.

What does growth look like over the next few years?

Aeromutable is currently working to bring its first full-size prototype on-road for testing. In the subsequent 12 months, we will continue developing our MVP and will produce a fleet-ready device that we will employ on routes with a pilot partner trucking company. Our pilot program and close collaboration will provide the operational testing with our fleet partners and invaluable insights that will allow us to bring our technology to market.

How has your company pivoted as a result of COVID-19?

COVID-19 hit the manufacturing communities particularly hard given that they require in-person work that sometimes requires close contact situations. When COVID-19 hit, Aeromutable was transitioning from benchtop prototype testing to manufacturing our first full-sized prototype, which required specialized manufacturing and shop access. We were essentially perfectly aligned to go into manufacturing mode when manufacturing practically came to a halt. So, while our product has not pivoted, our manufacturing and partnership opportunity certainly has. This has been just one of the many challenges of being a startup during COVID.

Tell us a little bit about your interns and the value they bring.

The interns provided to us through Advancing San Diego have been a great addition to the Aeromutable team. They have contributed to the development of multiple subsystems that will be a part of our prototype. They are applying the knowledge they have obtained from their engineering education at UC San Diego in real world problems. Through their internship, they are being exposed to a fast-paced environment of development where multiple engineering, logistical, economical, and practical constraints need to be considered. Their contributions have allowed Aeromutable to increase our pace on the development of our on-road and on-track prototype.

In your opinion, what is special about San Diego’s science and technology community, and the talent that drives it?

San Diego is uniquely situated near many top universities and multiple private and government research institutions, which helps create an environment of diverse and innovative engineers while maintaining a feeling of community that is hard to find. Furthermore, San Diego is perfectly located to provide access to some of the most important trucking routes, as well as being within close reach of larger, neighboring technology hubs like Los Angeles and a short plane ride to the Bay Area to further increase our opportunities for collaboration and growth.


Learn more about Advancing San Diego and our internship program.

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