The Volocopter Wants to Be Your Personal Flying Machine

By Carl Engelking | June 22, 2015 4:55 pm
The Volocoptor prototype. (Credit: e-Volo)

The Volocoptor prototype. (Credit: e-Volo)

If a quadcopter drone and helicopter somehow reproduced, the offspring would be a Volocopter.

The Volocopter is a novel mode of transportation built by the German company e-Volo. The prototype aircraft, currently in testing, runs purely on electricity and features a two-seat cabin, 18 rotors, and a simple joystick control. It’s a flying machine that’s so unique that it cannot be classified into any known category, and the team at e-Volo hopes the Volocopter will someday satisfy a market that flying cars, to this point, have failed to.

Go, Go, Volocopter

The team at e-Volo flew the Volocopter via remote for the first time in 2013, but they are hard at work preparing the craft’s computer system’s for its first manned test flight, which they hope to conduct in a few months. If all goes well, the Volocopter could make its big debut at the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisc., Wired reports.

The design was so unique that German officials created a new class of aircraft so e-Volo could get a license to fly it.

Engineers hope the Volocopter will bring the gift of flight to the masses, which has always been the vision of flying car manufacturers. But in order for a flight system to broadly appeal to consumers that want to fly to and from the grocery store, it has to be simple and safe. And unlike most flying car prototypes, the Volocopter has both of these things going for it. Its construction and mechanics are incredibly simple, and the design is also redundant: Even if some of the rotors fail, the Volocopter can still be operated safely.

The Volocopter takes off vertically just like a helicopter, but unlike other aircraft, it runs on battery packs. Currently, the copter can only fly for 20 to 30 minutes on a charge, but engineers are working to develop a hybrid model that could extend flight-times to over an hour. They also want to design a larger version that could carry four to six people. As it stands, the e-Volo team plans to sell the two-seated model for $340,000 apiece.

Talk about taking FPV flying to an entirely new level.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Top Posts
MORE ABOUT: drones, volocopter
ADVERTISEMENT
  • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

    A bit pricey, but nonetheless a superb engineering achievement.

  • Daniel Hunsicker

    The masses are going to need you to drop the zero out from between the four and the comma.

    • guillermina.ryals
  • Lloyd Cadrain

    Put a parachute in it, and I’m sold…

    • Ivar Ivarson

      http://www.flyingmag.com/brs-parachute-recovery-systems?page=0,1

      Article indicates that a height of 400 (ideal conditions) to 920 feet are needed for the ‘chute to fully deploy. The Volocopter strikes me as a low altitude aircraft. At least you don’t have to blow the rotors off to deploy a parachute.

    • Barefoot in MN

      how about bouncy feet ? a mini-trampoline built into each of the support legs…. and/or a down-jet that comes on when the thingy senses it’s getting close to the ground….

  • Daniel Sarge

    Too many props and motors, that’s bound to be a maintenance nightmare.

    • aslimline S

      Ah that’s a good thing more motors means more jobs.

    • http://facebook.com/WeeRedBird WeeRedBird

      Think of all the people repairing them themselves. We all know someone with a junk car, held together with gaffer tape and rust. Now imagine that above you, ready to fall out the sky.

  • Anthony Boucouvalas

    safer with more props

  • Dennis Young

    Has this been remotely flown with a full load? You know, a 200 lb. man and a 150 lb. woman, for example? Plus typical commuter baggage: a couple of laptop cases or backpacks, etc. I’d think it would make a major difference in performance, not to mention the CG and overall balance of the craft. Just curious. :)

    • http://facebook.com/WeeRedBird WeeRedBird

      Can fly you to Cosco, but can’t generate enough lift to take you, and your shopping, home again.

  • Knox Siwash

    And it only takes up 6 parking spaces. Well, maybe 8.

  • Buddy199

    Another toy for rich greens.

  • omar

    Before you know it, you will be able to order them from Ali baba…

    • bobgeezer

      And it will be delivered by Amazon drones overnight . . .

  • Ashwin Chand

    They are still in the dark ages.You need to do better Germany.

  • outpost

    $340,000.00 is pocket change for most Billionaires, so maybe they’ll use them for Air-Polo.

  • Robert Kirby

    Multiple electronic redundancies, but loss of the ability to auto rotate put the evolo in the same class as modern unstable combat aircraft, regardless of the difference in budgets. The ballistic recovery chute matches the requirements for ejection seats. The hazards of fling wing flight have been rearranged with different priorities but do not invalidate the dramatic advantages of this innovation. If there was a V! to call out in this machine, the big attention getter would be the 20 minute endurance. The solution to that will have an even bigger effect on cars if and when it arrives.

  • rachid

    it is bright idea

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Drone360

From studying wildlife to building drones that "think," unmanned vehicles are changing the ways scientists work and the questions they probe. Here at the Drone360 blog, we’re keeping tabs on the exciting ways drones are advancing science every day.

If you were a fan or subscriber to Drone360, this is your new home for all your rotor-relevant news. Welcome!

Buy the Magazine

drone 360 cover
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

@Drone360Mag on Twitter

ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Collapse bottom bar
+