A part of me thinks this is really cool tech and it would be amazing for anyone to be able to just hop aboard their personal helicopter and fly wherever they want, but then another part of me thinks of the future this would create, skies no longer clear, filled with objects buzzing around and what hell that would be, on top of the already stressful and crazy life we have now.
It's the kind of situation where I think I'd actually rather the tech never exist.
I'm very skeptical of their claims of "unparalleled safety". Thanks to "autorotation" regular helicopters can safely land in most situations even with complete power failure. The claims of safety of this craft seems to derive from N+1 battery redundancy which isn't that impressive. They say they have 8 independent motors, but don't say how many are needed to stay aloft.
For drone-style helicopters, I find the Volocopter (https://www.volocopter.com/de/) the most intriguing concept. The designers of the Volocopter took extreme care for redundancy. It can keep flying with up to 6 of the 18 rotors failing. Even the electric system and the controls have multiple redundancies. The first craft already got licensed for flying in Germany.
Video "tour" here (still doesn't show it flying): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elhiaxMiRuY&t=19s
Also, the inaugural flight at CES was scrapped due to a "light sprinkling" of rain: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42616034
Couple of people mentioning the Robinson R22 (a 2-seater small helicopter that costs about $280k.) I didn't see any mentions of the Yo-Yo 222 though, which seems very interesting and only costs €135k. The SureFly is substantially slower and has a lower payload compared to both.
It's worth noting, though, that any small aircraft will have very similar payloads (300-400 lbs max.) This will almost certainly not get better in the near future, even with battery improvements (you'll note that all current light aircraft, including this one, are gasoline powered.) Speed is also difficult to increase for VTOL aircraft like this one.
I build custom VTOL (and sometimes horizontal) aircraft, typically electric, usually smaller than this one. If anyone else here builds VTOL aircraft/large drones, send me an email! I'd be curious to talk to other HNers doing the same thing. (And if you're just curious about the subject in general, feel free to send me an email also - it's in my profile.)
> 1 hour of fuel
> 70 mph speed
This means that the maximum legal range with FAA-mandated fuel reserves is 46 miles (assuming no wind). Also despite shots of it on a driveway, it would most likely be impossible to actually take off or land on your driveway due to local ordinances in most cities. Oh and it doesn't appear to be properly equipped for IFR, so clear weather operation only.
Flying fixed-pitch copters is risky. The question is: more risky than driving in traffic? More than taking the bus or swimming or eating fatty foods or a hundred other things we do without blinking?
Still, it'll have to have a measured safety record before I'd want to fly it. Better yet, automate it to go from heliport to heliport in a crowded city, a sort of aero-lyft. So I don't have the chance to screw anything up. Because I'm thinking the human operator is going to be the root of any accident stats. Imagine a swarm of these over your city, with humans in control.
Can anyone verify if this thing is actually built and not just some rendering? The shallows in some of their pictures don't seem right so I was wondering if those are pictures of an actual craft or just a Photoshop.
Yet another really big personal quadrotor-type drone. Its a lot like the eHang 184, from 2016. That flies, but they don't trust it with a live passenger yet.
Here's one with a passenger, but they don't want to get any altitude. There are five or six projects like this. Few have flown with a human on board yet.
- Curb Weight: 1100lbs
- Max Takeoff Weight: 1500lbs
So... you, your passenger, and any cargo combined can't weigh more than 400 pounds? That's a pretty serious limit for people hoping to transport multiple adults. And "precision agriculture" or the sorts of practical uses they discuss all go right out the window.
I thought gasoline turbine generators are sort of here (used in hybrid buses), womder why they stuck with piston generator.
Also, any ideas what battery pack you’d need to do the same 70miles?
It is cute to show it in a parking lot, but with those unprotected blades it is unlikely you will be able to operate it anywhere but on an airfield, helipad or private land, for safety reasons. And with four sets of contra-rotating blades (small, therefore turning fast) and a gasoline engine, it will be noisy as hell.
Guaranteed vaporware. If these guys had even a fraction of a clue they would have gone with a 6 rotor design.
I'm skeptical of a company that is doing so many different projects, and none of them seem particularly well developed, far along, or consistent within the framework of some core vision.
That being said, I'm jealous. Where do people actually get money to finance these pet projects?
dumb question, but why would it not be a good idea to enclose the blades so anyone walking up to it won't be hurt? (just a simply loop / bumper arrangement?
on a side note, I hope to be around where a Blade Runner like Spinner is a thing or at least a possibility
What is the benefit of more, smaller rotor blades over fewer, larger ones?
I thought that the area of air that the blades worked on scaled with pi-r-squared, which favours fewer larger rotor blades, as seen on most helicopters?
Just reading through the about page... Where is the aircraft/rotorcraft experience in upper management? There are many reasons that helicopters are dominant at the scale of human transport (some of which have been brought up in this comment thread) and multicopters are prevalent at smaller (drone-size) scales...
All of this is to say I'm extremely skeptical.
The fully electric Lilium out of Germany is a far more interesting project. Without a gas engine, the noise and cost problems are greatly mitigated.
I don't know how far away it is from commercialization, but it would appear that the the proof of concept is coming along nicely.
Most of the work of the helicopters I see involve long flight times and/or the ability to carry some sort of not-insignificant payload (camera/sensors/pesticides/people).
This doesn't seem to address either of those situations very well. And with 1 seat to sell, you aren't going to be getting many short charter flights.
Is there any data on the sound profile of this thing? As the rotors become smaller the disc loading increases, making them much louder and more shrill. If that's effectively mitigated here, this looks really cool; if not, I think it will be hard to negotiate take off and landing rights with most communities.
How am I supposed to "store it inside a standard garage" if it doesn't have wheels to move it in?
Why this and not single-rotor collective pitch? There's no good explanation in the marketing material.
Although I think it only goes about half the speed, half the flight ceiling and a third the range of an average helicopter. Maybe if these guys get some market traction a ton of other entrants will come and the dream of personal flight will finally “take off”.
I wonder what maintenance requirements will be like.
> target price: $200,000
That's 148,019.4 GBP. The average wage here corrected for a proper living standard is about 22,000 GBP give or take.
If everybody that could afford this took that money and gave it to homeless foundations, what a world we could live in...
2 props per arm, contra rotating. Eight motors...Gasoline Piston Engine drives dual generators...Dual Lithium Battery Pack...Full computer and electrical system redundancy...Ballistic Parachute...
> Flight ceiling: 4000ft
I’m wondering if that’s the absolute service ceiling or it’s legal operational ceiling due to its classification.
I suppose they won’t be selling them in Denver if it’s the former.
I'm always extremely skeptical of these things. The engineering is difficult, but the person at the controls is an even larger problem.
“One hour of flight time available per tank of gasoline”
So like what, $70 round trip commute? Hmm.
I have to say, I've never worried about being hit by a helicopter while riding my bicycle.
Is this the next Uber vehicle?
Or Amazon delivery "drone"?
So what sort of fuel mileage does it get?
Well that's going to kill someone.
So cool, it looks like a huge drone.
As both a rotorcraft and fixed wing pilot, I really don't want this to succeed. Most people have no business on the road, let alone in the sky.
That's without even getting into the safety issues with this thing that are being conveniently glossed over in the marketing material, which would lead anyone who didn't know better to think a BRS is some kind of foolproof sure thing.
I think I'll wait for like... version 5.
electric transmission vs mechanical and 8 tiny inefficient props?
1 hour flight with 30kg of fuel?
I can make something more efficient in a garage...