There’s something going on in the world of rotor flying. Maybe it’s the fact that electric motors are now hitting almost commodity prices, and lightweight materials are also plentiful, but suddenly everyone wants play around with ‘copters of all shapes and sizes.
The Volocopter VC200 from German company e-Volo is a radical new take on the electrical hovering machine concept. Looking something like a cross between a massive quadcopter and a conventional helicopter, the all electric craft, called a Volocopter, managed its maiden flight this week, much to the relief of the development team.
The full size aircraft sports no less than 18 propellers, arranged in a delicate circular motif around the central cockpit and power block area. Each rotor has its own electrical motor, and through the use of some pretty high grade engineering (and suitably cutting edge carbon materials) the team seem to have removed the issue of vibrations and noise from the design, which makes this an eminently practical vertical take off alternative to a standard helicopter.
Currently the battery technology only gives around 20 minutes flight time, but the team around hoping to extend that to over an hour over the coming testing period. They hope to extend out the flying time to several hours using hybrid technology (similar to the Chevy Volt) which will charge the battery packs in flight using a gas powered motor.
The product is still in full development mode, so don’t expect to see any of these flying down your high street any time soon, but one day this could be a very practical form of transport. Check out the video below for a good idea of how cool this tech is.