A US-based start-up is developing a five-passenger ‘flying car’-type vehicle that requires no runway to take off.
Arizona-based Krossblade has created the concept of the SkyCruiser - an electric hybrid aircraft that not only switches between being an airplane and a quadcopter, but can be driven on the road as well.
While the vehicle SkyCruiser is still in development, the company is bringing the technology in a functioning miniature prototype dubbed the ‘SkyProwler’.
Like a quadcopter, the SkyProwler has four horizontal propellers that allow it to perform vertical take-offs and landings, and to hover in mid-air.
“Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) enables aircraft to operate from virtually any environment. No runway is required. This opens up flying to a much larger range of possible terrains, from backyards and rough fields, over snow-covered mountains and sandy beaches, to a boat on the sea,” Krossblade said on Kickstarter.
While a copter has to tilt its nose down in order to move forward, the SkyProwler uses an additional two vertical props in the rear to push itself forward. This allows it to minimise its frontal area while moving through the air, ‘Gizmag’ reported.
To make it really fast, users can instruct the aircraft to retract its landing gear and pull its four copter props into the sides of its body.
It is then powered solely by the two rear props, maintaining lift using its wings.
This allows it to cover greater distances using less battery power, and to keep up with fast-moving subjects - its top speed in this configuration is 134 km/h.
For slow-speed flight and hovering, users can lighten it up by temporarily pulling off the wings and tail. Flight time ranges from 24 minutes in quadcopter configuration to 40 minutes when flying fixed-wing.
The SkyProwler is controlled using a radio remote control unit. Users can relay simple commands such as “take off” and “land” via voice prompts.