E-Volo is developing an aircraft that could most appropriately be considered a fusion of a helicopter and a drone. Basically, they want to create a drone that is big and powerful enough to carry 2 people. The group is currently develping a working manned prototype of the equipment, which they call “Volocopter”.
The aircraft can seat two people and has a circular structure on top with 18 rotors assembled with independent propellers. The machine can take off vertically and fly in any direction in a very agile way. It can be controlled by a joystick from inside the aircraft or remotely by someone on the ground.
So far, Volocopter test flights were all done indoors because German laws do not allow this type of vehicle flying in public spaces. However, the group has already consulted the government to revise current aviation rules and allow commercial manufacturing and sale. According to Alexander Zosel, e-Volo’s CEO, he wants to label Volocopter as a “light sport multicopter” which would revolutionize aviation with a new aircraft category.
The engines of the aircraft are all electric and therefore there are no harmful gas emission into the atmosphere, as ordinary helicopters do. However, its autonomy is quite low at the moment. Developers told Wired that so far, the Volocopter can only fly for up to 30 minutes. So they are working on a way to make more efficient rotors and improve the capacity of the batteries.
Zosel told the website that he plans to take the Volocopter the EAA AirVenture, in the US, the biggest air show in the world. “That’s my aim,” he said. “That’s my dream.”
In the near future, Zosel hopes to sell Volocopter for US$340,000. For now, he refused to share more photos of his “superdrone” but promised to go all out with the photos and videos of their first manned flight planned for next summer.
Source and images: E-Volo