E-Volo VC1 Volocopter has 16 rotors, flies over rush hour traffic

  • By Rory Reid

Here's something that'll never go horribly wrong and maim everyone in its vicinity. That's actually not sarcasm -- the E-Volo VC1 Volocopter's multiple rotors may look terrifying, but they reduce the likelihood of a crash in the event of mechanical failure.

It might look like a painful death waiting to happen, but the Volocopter is quite safe.
It might look like a painful death waiting to happen, but the Volocopter is quite safe.

The VC1 is being touted as a potential alternative commuter vehicle or simply a toy for daredevils to mess about on. We can't imagine any local council granting permit to fly it in built up areas, but it does have a lot of potential.

By using sixteen individual rotor, it provides redundancy in the event something goes catastrophically wrong. If one rotor fails, the others simply take up the strain and keep the thing aloft. Sadly, it only has one primary power source. Its battery pack provides enough power for 20 minutes of flight and once this goes, no amount of rotors is going to keep the VC1 airborne.

The VC1 Volocopter started life as an unmanned aerial vehicle, but its inherent stability prompted E-volo to take the calculated risk of a strapping a hapless human being to the top of it. The company's own Thomas Senkel donned on a helmet, steeled himself, and took to the skies.

The flight, which can be seen in the video below, lasted a mere 90 seconds -- just long enough to prove the VC1 Volocopter won't murder anyone that sits on top of it. After his maiden voyage, Senkel seemd upbeat, claiming "the flight characteristics are good natured. Without any steering input it would just hover on the spot."

E-Volo added "the pilot pays little or no attention to the flight path angle, minimum speed, stall, mixture control, pitch adjustment, and many other things which make conventional aviation so demanding." 

The company believes the VC1 Volocopter is the "future of flight". Its 80Kg weight means it can be transported on a trailer with relative ease and its 5 by 5 metre footprint means it'll just about fit on a large driveway or the roof of your office building.

E-Volo ultimately aims to build a two-seater version, codenamed VC Evolution 2P with a take-off weight of 450Kg and more than one hour flight time.

Would you get on one or would the fear of being chopped into a million tiny pieces before being thrown to the ground and run over by a bus be too difficult to overcome? As ever, let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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