E-Volo VC200 is a vertical-takeoff-and-landing, semi-autonomous, two-seat multicopter with an electric engine, with all parameters of flight piloted with a simple joystick.
In November 2015, E-Volo celebrated the launch of its electric two-passenger, 18-rotor VC200 Volocopter, piloted remotely by company CEO Alexander Zosel. E-Volo is currently anticipating completing the first manned flight of the aircraft. German aviation authorities are working to create a new aircraft category that the Volocopter can fit into, so it can be certified for sale.
The Volocopter features six arms stretching from the central part of the rotor ring that split into twelve more arms, with 18 rotors placed at each juncture. The battery-powered motor will last for about 20 minutes of emission-free flight time, but E-Volo is looking to extend that to an hour or more. It is also working on a hybrid system that includes a combustion engine and a generator that would charge the onboard battery, as well as exploring fuel-cell technology.
Additionally, a folding mechanism for the propeller array that would allow easy storage and effortless transportation of the Volocopter is also in development.
The team is aiming for a cruising speed of at least 54 knots (62 mph / 100 km/h) and a flight altitude of 6,500 ft for the production version.
The Volocopter has twenty independent computers which each could supposedly fly the computer solo, however, for safety reasons, the VC 200 has been featured with components that mutually monitor each other and compensate for the malfunction of individual components. This reduces any danger, allowing safe flying even if several motors cease functioning, as the pilot can safely continue flying and land. In case of turbulence, the Volocopter VC200 immediately stabilizes using its automatic altitude control and without the pilot’s intervention.
The company won a technical award at the United Nations climate-change conference in December, honoured as a “climate champion” for the Volocopter’s potential to provide clean, energy-efficient transportation.
Image Credit: Volocopter.com