A New eVTOL CycloRotor Made Its First Successful Flight. With a 100-Year-Old Patent?
Austria-based CycloTech announced that it successfully completed the first test flight of its unique eVTOL flying taxi prototype design, a press statement reveals.
The flying taxi prototype is a 176 lb (83 kg) demonstrator that features Voith-Schneider rotors instead of the traditional propellers seen in other recent multi-rotor designs.
The company says this unique feature gives its eVTOL aircraft improved agility and control in the air over other flying taxi designs.
Meet the CycloRotor: an incredibly agile eVTOL aircraft
The wheel-like rotors also make the CycloRotor eVTOL the closest thing we've ever seen to a flying car that actually, you know, looks like a car. Each propeller is essentially a spinning cylindrical tube composed of wing blades. As a New Atlas report from 2020 explains, the prop design was actually patented almost 100 years ago, though it was never used in an aircraft until now.
Unlike most traditional eVTOL aircraft, which have to transition from vertical to normal flight mode for take-off and landing, the CycloRotor eVTOL's propulsion system provides more freedom of movement, allowing it to quickly fly in any direction required. Similar to a helicopter's propulsion system, the angle of the CycloRotor's blades are altered during flight, allowing for it to rapidly redirect thrust in any direction on its rotational axis.
CycloTech says it is only at the beginning of its journey, and many more flight tests lie ahead, though it is aiming to develop a five-seater flying taxi based on its current prototype. Take a look at CycloTech's first test flight in the video below.
The flying taxi revolution is almost here
In November, Cyclotech also announced on social media that it will be developing "a new CycloRotor generation in the upcoming year." Though it provided little information on the configuration or adjustments for the new rotors, the firm did provide images (below) and it did state that they would feature "huge improvements" over its current design.
The flying taxi revolution is on course to launch this decade with companies such as German startup Volocopter's claiming it will start its flying taxi services "within two years" in Paris and Singapore.
However, there is still a long road to building the required infrastructure, with experts warning that only 3 percent of investment in the eVTOL industry has so far gone into infrastructure. In order to accelerate the development of this infrastructure, Hyundai and UK startup Urban-Air Port recently announced they will build 200 vertiports for flying taxis. With so many unique prototypes making their first flight tests in recent months and years — including multicopter pioneer Thomas Senkel's tandem-winged eMagic One — who knows what flying taxis might look like two decades from now.
Researchers' cutting-edge technology can increase plant productivity and address problems with the world's food supply, particularly in colder locations.