Volocopter Brings Us Closer to Flying Cars

The future of transportation might have two seats, over a dozen rotors and look more like a helicopter than a car. German manufacturer E-Volo's Volocopter VC200 uses a single joystick to fly and operates with an electric motor.

Credit: Nikolay Kazakov / E-VoloCredit: Nikolay Kazakov / E-Volo

E-Volo's prototype made its first unmanned flight back in November 2015, with CEO Alexander Sozel using a remote to pilot the vehicle. The next big challenge for the company is a flight with people actually riding in the aircraft.

The vehicle isn't a flying car, nor is it a drone or a helicopter, at least according to German law. The country's aviation department will need to create a new aircraft category so that the Volocopter can be sold legally.

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The downside is that the battery, though environmentally friendly, will last for only 20 minutes in the air. The company hopes to increase that by at least an hour.

The Volocopter isn't the only company working on personal aircraft; in January, we saw the eHang 184, an "autonomous aerial vehicle" that looked like a drone with a bucket seat. It boasted a slightly longer flight time of 28 minutes.

There are a ton of challenges to overcome, from government registration to increasing flight times to obtaining the public's trust, but moonshot drones and copters are looking like the flying personal transportation we always dreamed of.

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  • elmanufico
    Great article ! I just want one now :)
  • AndrewFreedman
    Anonymous said:
    Great article ! I just want one now :)

    Thank you!

    Unfortunately, we're all going to have to wait, these are just in their prototype stages. When one of ours editors, Philip Michaels, saw the eHang at CES, they weren't doing flying demos. These also require a ton of government regulation before they can be sold, and those laws are going to differ around the world.

    Then there's the issue of getting the price down, but that seems to be the least of anyone's worries at the moment!
  • seb_breton
    Yes, it's awesome!