‘e-volo’ personal multicopter

the ‘e-volo‘ multicopter is a prototype personal transport vehicle, steerable via joystock and powered by sixteen propellers to hover in the air. a team of german professionals– physicist thomas senkel, programmer stephan wolf, and designer philipp halisch, as well as alexander zosel– have just completed the first prototype and test flight of the craft, which they imagine for use towards entertainment purposes, aerial photography and inspection, and short-distance travel.

in ‘e-volo’, altitude, directional control, and balance are automatically managed by onboard computers, while the driver steers by using a simple joystick. the designers note that the program could be integrated with GPS and obstacle detection systems to enable unmanned flight. each of the vehicle’s sixteen motors uses an off-the-shelf battery and is independently controlled, easing maintenance and repairs.

the craft is energy and economically efficient, with a one-hour flight estimated to cost about 6 euros’ worth of electricity. redundancy engineering permits ‘e-volo’ to land safely even if up to four of its motors fail, and the vehicle can also be protected by safety parachute. currently ‘e-volo’ should permit flights of up to 20 minutes, but by integrating a hybrid gas system, or as the capacity of batteries increases, the engineering team suggests that flights could last over an hour.

e volo personal helicopter closer view of the motors, of which there are sixteen

e volo personal helicopter steering is controlled via joystick, while onboard computers automatically adjust motor rotation and the craft’s balance accordingly

preparation of the craft and (1:44) test flight

e volo personal helicopter original concept sketch; not carried through to the final design image © philipp halisch

e volo personal helicopter the original design concept was to be foldable, a feature not carried through to the prototype image © philipp halisch

via dvice