Hop over to the mall in the latest flying car, Zee
THE latest flying car concept comes from Zee.Aero, a company founded by Ilan Kroo, an aeronautics professor and Nasa scientist.
Kroo is listed as the inventor on the patent applications for a flying car that can take off and land vertically using eight four-bladed propellers.
Gizmag.com reports that Zee.Aero uses a canard wing, which has wings mounted fore and aft, and the payload area mounted in the centre of the craft.
On the top of this compact wing arrangement are a number of electric engines turning fat, four-bladed propellers. The aircraft’s horizontal stabiliser is mounted on the front of the aircraft instead of on the tail.
The patent illustrations show eight engines or motors, which can use battery power to lift the aircraft vertically for take-off. Then two vertically mounted engines provide forward thrust until the wings have enough air travelling over them to provide lift. The small vertical engines can be shut down then for an efficient cruise flight.
The large number of propellers are to provide redundancy in the case of failure. Flight control in hover is provided by changing the thrust on individual engines, which is far simpler than the helicopter method of varying propeller pitch in various ways.
Zee.Aero has listed on its website a number of openings for aeronautical engineers, and states that it is aiming to use “aerodynamics, autonomy, and electric propulsion” to change personal aviation.
The company also mentions the generous use of carbon fibre as a building material.
The intriguing pictures are all from the patent filings by the new company, and one of them shows a larger version of the vehicle with bigger engines and smaller wings parked between two cars, apparently at a supermarket or shopping mall, indicating a flying car.
The idea is not unique. The Volocopter has 18 small electric engines providing lift in a snowflake arrangement but Kroo’s approach enables the Zee.Aero’s multiple electric motors to be powered from a common battery bank or petrol-powered generator. Controls for such a craft are mechanically very simple, but will require some sophisticated software to make the aircraft easy to fly.
A working model of the flying car by Zee.Aero fits in a standard parking space. In line with the creator’s aims ‘ to change personal aviation’, it can transport one person only.
Ilan Kroo, an aeronautics professor and Nasa scientist, who patented this flying car.