Personal 'Volocopter' Could Transform Air Travel

E-Volo's semi-autonomous Volocopter uses a single joystick to fly and operates with an electric motor.

The future of transportation might have two seats, over a dozen rotors and look more like a helicopter than a car. German manufacturer E-Volo's Volocopter VC200 uses a single joystick to fly and operates with an electric motor.

E-Volo's prototype made its first unmanned flight back in November, with CEO Alexander Sozel using a remote to pilot the vehicle. The next big challenge for the company is a flight with people actually riding in the aircraft.

The vehicle isn't a flying car, nor is it a drone or a helicopter, at least according to German law. The country's aviation department will need to create a new aircraft category so that the Volocopter can be sold legally.

The downside is that the battery, though environmentally friendly, will only last for 20 minutes in the air. The company hopes to increase that by at least an hour.

The Volocopter isn't the only company working on personal aircraft; in January, we saw the eHang 184, an "autonomous aerial vehicle" that looked like a drone with a bucket seat. It boasted a slightly longer flight time of 28 minutes.

There are a ton of challenges to overcome, from government registration to increasing flight times to obtaining the public's trust, but moonshot drones and copters are looking like the flying personal transportation we always dreamed of.

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