Volocopter can be defined as “A helicopter redefined with the essence of a drone”. It is a hybrid of drone with the traditional helicopter. The Volocopter can be operated with a pilot, using remote controls or completely autonomously depending on the requirements. This innovation is being regarded as a dawn of a new revolution in the realms of flying cars. It will offer an ecstatic experience to the commuters when it will make a foray into the commercial market.
A German company ‘E-VOLO’ initiated and conceptualized this revolutionary innovation. Germany who has always remained at the apogee of automobile industries has yet again proved its credibility producing a class apart technology product this time in aviation avenue.
The Volocopter is made of a light-weight, fiber composite material which runs on all-electric motors. It is composed of 18 rotors which provide a lot of redundancy against system failures. It doesn’t require a runway and is powered by batteries which make it coherent with the ecological sustainability and hence emission-free if the source is renewable one.
In conventional helicopters, the mechanics are very intricate due to complicated control and dynamics, hence the maintenance is extremely cost-intensive but on the other hand, in the case of a Volocopter it is controlled without any mechanical parts hence it requires very low-maintenance. Thus the Volocopter is much more cost-efficient in regard to its consumption levels and its servicing than a traditional helicopter.
It is a 2 seater aircraft, can fly up to a speed of 100 kph and weighs 450 kg with passengers onboard. The Volocopter is operated with one hand using a joystick. The pilot controls all flight axis through rotational movements of the joystick’s axis. Rising up and falling down commands are given through an altitude control thumb button. During landing, the pilot only needs to press and hold the button down until the Volocopter is on the ground. Once it comes in proximity to the ground level, the control system automatically slows down the Volocopter to ensure a smooth landing.
In 2013, the prototype which was remotely piloted flew for the first time. Later in 2016, a test flight of Volocopter VC200 took to the skies with the successful voyage for three minutes steered by founder and CEO, Alexander Zosel. Right after his landing, he said “The flight was totally awesome. It is definitely a sublime feeling to lift off, fly the first few meters, and then actually take my hand off the joystick and think that, yeah, it really feels as if I’m standing on the ground, and then I look down and there are 20-25 meters beneath me.”
Apart from mass transit, many other applications are possible for instance, transportation of heavy loads, autonomous farming in the precision agriculture sector, search and rescue applications as well as the improvement of the first aid chain.
We are very briskly ushering into an era where most of the people will possess flying cars, drones and aircraft like Volocopter to commute anywhere they want. That day is not too far when the sky will contain more no of flying machines than the birds.