Hop over to the mall in the lat­est fly­ing car, Zee

Weekend Witness - - Games -

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.

— WR.

PHOTO: ZEE.AERO

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.

PHOTO: AERO.STAN­FORD.EDU

Ilan Kroo, an aero­nau­tics pro­fes­sor and Nasa sci­en­tist, who patented this fly­ing car.

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