A UK Startup Successfully Flight Tested Its Flying Car Prototype in Dubai
Bellwether Industries, a U.K.-based eVTOL startup, successfully completed the first untethered test flights of its two-seat Volar aircraft prototype in Dubai, according to a report from eVTOL.com.
The company said it will share footage of the test flights in the coming weeks, and the aircraft had completed eight test flights in total. The company has previously released footage of its machine during tethered indoor trial flights.
Bellwether has so far raised 1 million dollars from angel investors and its aircraft was first shown to the public at the Dubai Airshow last month. It is now seeking more investment to help it build a full-scale prototype.
The Volar aircraft was designed to provide intracity flying car travel. The final version will be about 10.5 ft (3.2 meters) wide, while the prototype model for the recent test flights was roughly half the size. The current Volar aircraft prototype is a two-seater, while the final machine will include space for four to five seats.
Bellwether aims to bring its flying car to the market by 2028
In renders, the Volar aircraft has similarities to another in-development eVTOL prototype called the CycloRotor. Both models actually look surprisingly like airborne cars, rather than the multirotor flying taxis we are quickly becoming accustomed to seeing.
"A lot of the problems we have is the vehicle doesn’t look like an aircraft, so when people see it, they don’t see how it could work or how it could fly, but it's real," Kai-Tse Lin, COO and co-Founder of Bellwether, told eVTOL.com.
For the recent trial flights, the remotely piloted prototype flew up to 13 feet (3.9 meters) at a speed of approximately 25 mph (40 km/h). On its website, Bellwether says its full-scale machines will cruise at altitudes of roughly 3,000 feet, reaching speeds of 135 mph (217 km/h). The battery duration is estimated to be roughly 90 minutes, which is similar to many flying taxi designs that are currently in the works.
Bellwether aims to bring its Volar aircraft to the market by 2028, though that does depend on it getting a flight certification. The company is specifically positioning its aircraft as a private flying car, so it will be interesting to see if public urban air mobility truly takes off before the company intends to release its flying machine.