Here is the personal air taxi that looks like a UFO

Here is the personal air taxi that looks like a UFO

In basic terms, the Zeva Zero is a large carbon fiber disc, approximately 2.4m in diameter and weighing 317kg, with a person-sized cavity in the middle and a clear section that allows you to see out . There are two propellers on the front and two on the rear, and each of them has two coaxially mounted electric props.

The batteries, approximately 20 kWh in the first prototype and 25 kWh in the first planned production model, they will be on the sides of the disc, separated into a series of different packages. These packs will be isolated from each other in double-walled carbon boxes, which will be constantly monitored and able to vent both heat and toxic gases outside the aircraft in the event of a battery fire. An additional bulkhead will isolate the battery areas from the cockpit.

You enter the aircraft through a folding hatch at the rear while sitting on the tail, leaning slightly forward. You have to rest your chest and belly against it, close the hatch behind you and then you are ready to fly. It will take off vertically, then switch within approximately 20 seconds to a horizontal cruise mode where the entire disc becomes a lift generating wing.

The upper two propellers are optimized for VTOL and hover, and the lower one has Higher pitch blades, optimized for cruising at higher speeds. At a certain speed, the top props will be stopped, unlocked and allowed to fold flat to minimize drag. You will be able to travel up to 80km away at speeds of up to 57km / h, at which point it will slow down, tilt its nose up, start those props up again, and begin a tail landing that will bring you back in. feet.

"We are seeing extreme interest in rural areas, and especially in countries like Indonesia. They have 17,000 islands, many of them without much infrastructure, and they liked the idea of ​​being able to move people this way. 73% of people commute alone, so it makes sense that our first vehicle is designed for one person only, ”explained the project leader.

The Zeva will be mechanically simple and easy to mass produce : "We can essentially do away with the composite parts of the airframe with a big press," and his team estimates a price of about $ 250,000 per unit. This means that air taxi services could purchase 20 of these aircraft for the price of one or only the larger 5 or 6-seat models. But perhaps its key advantage will be its size because it will be easy to park in a small space.

Tibbits speculates that manned flights could be feasible as early as three to six months, possibly less. But it will take hundreds of hours to even put a human in it, and it will also need to rigorously install and test the ballistic rescue parachute.

Zeva is partially self-financed currently. There has been an investment round for family and friends, and Tibbits says he has opened the doors to small investors through StartEngine, an equity crowdfunding platform. The next step will be to get more prototypes built and tested, with a view to hitting the market for the first time through the first responder, search and rescue and defense markets. “We will move to the consumer market by the time we have full autonomy of work,” says Tibbits. Zeva could build them as privately owned experimental aircraft, but that's not the goal for now.

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