This Long-Awaited Hybrid-Electric Copter Finally Made its First Hover
The SureFly personal helicopter of the future finally had its maiden hover. Ohio-based company Workhorse Group captured aircraft fans' attention when it announced it would be making the world's first personal hybrid aircraft.
SureFly is powered by eight separate propellers and a hybrid system that includes a gas combustion engine and a battery pack. The SureFly has a maximum weight of 400 lbs (roughly 180 kg). In the event of an emergency, the SureFly even comes with a backup lithium battery pack to drive the motors.
The copter's first hover was originally scheduled for CES this past January. While the event is a few months later than its goal date, the results are pretty impressive.
"When it flies, it's exhilarating," said Steve Burns, CEO of Workhorse Group. He elaborated on exactly what makes it special.
"It’s designed to be less expensive, safer, and easier to fly than a helicopter," Burns said. "The reason that everyone doesn’t currently have a helicopter in their garage is because of those three issues. We think that if you can have something moderately priced, easy enough that anyone can fly, and that people will feel safe in, there are tons of applications. It could be a farmer checking on his cattle; it could be an emergency responder able to get to the scene of an accident faster than a road ambulance; it could be military, an air taxi, or just someone wanting to avoid traffic in the city. There are a lot of uses for a short-hop electric flying machine."
An interview with Dr. Birgül Akolpoglu allows IE to dig deeper into the potential, limitations and misconceptions of biohybrid microrobots for medical use.