VW throws its hat into the eVTOL ring, with the "Flying Tiger" V.MO
With the increasing development of eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) "air taxis," it shouldn't come as a surprise that automakers are moving into the field. This week, Volkswagen Group China unveiled its own effort, in the form of the V.MO.
Its name an acronym for Vertical Mobility, the aircraft is also known as the Flying Tiger – it was launched in the Year of the Tiger, and its black-and-gold paint job pays homage to the big cat's black and orange coloration.
The existing functional prototype measures 11.2 m long by 10.6 m wide (36.7 by 34.8 ft), and features eight horizontal rotors for vertical lift along with two rear vertical pusher props for forward flight. It was created via a partnership between VW China, UK design firm tangerine, and Chinese aviation manufacturer Sunward.
According to tangerine, the style, format and layout of aircraft were "heavily influenced by intensive user research with over a hundred high-net-worth individuals across China." The V.MO is aimed at that same demographic, members of which could use the eVTOL to fly between various Chinese cities.
Plans call for the current model to make several test flights later this year, after which an improved prototype will be the subject of test flights conducted late next summer (Northern Hemisphere). Volkswagen China states that the final commercial model will be fully autonomous, and capable of carrying four passengers plus luggage over distances of up to 200 km (124 miles).
"Through this pilot project, we are bringing Volkswagen’s long tradition of precision engineering, design, and innovation to the next level, by developing a premium product that will serve the vertical mobility needs of our future tech-savvy Chinese customers," said Dr. Stephan Wöllenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China. "The launch of this stunning validation model – the V.MO – is the first of many remarkable milestones on our exciting journey towards urban air travel."
The animation below shows more.
Sources: Volkswagen, tangerine
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Now we are supposed to be wowed by aircraft with way more motors and things to go wrong than anything in the early days of aviation.
A big step backwards in my eyes.
1: Fully electric drive (+ biodiesel/biofuel (NOT H2!) gas turbine generator)!
2: Hexacopter/octocopter! (It needs to be able to fly/land OK w/ 1 propeller failed!)
3: Needs to be able to fit into 1 (or 2) car parking spaces!
4: Needs to be able to carry 3 people (or 2 people + baggage)!
5: Its propellers need to be able to do auto-rotation in case of total power failure (for soft landing)!
6: It needs to self-correct (w/o power) to always fall upright!
7: It needs internal (+ external) airbags!
By the way, more electric motors is actually better for safety because it means more fault-tolerance!
(& that still true for jet engines too but of course more mechanical complexity (because of more engines) means more cost for production & maintenance!)
1.Yes but with H2 not a heavy mechanical prone gas generator.
2.Yes and No its nice to have extra motors but not needed a quadcopter with only 4 rotors can still land with a motor out but chances of a motor out is slim compared to ice engines anyway.
4. Sligthly debatable.
5.No not needed electric motors work differently as the remaining motors can instantly be configured to take over landing the craft more safer than autorotation, something ice engines cannot do.
6.Not needed for electric aircraft, are far beyond more reliable than ICE engines, it will never be without power.
7.Not at all just takes unneeded weight and space, its electric and redundant by nature. Ehang flying commercially is doing stellar ;)
As for your last paragraph true indeed but more electric motors are not really needed. But if it makes the overly anxious crowd feel better they can add more motors for some midels perhaps, electric motors are light anyway.
You clearly need to get accustomed to the time you are living in now. Electrics are complicated yet robust and superior in terms of reliability. This is not the olden days anymore ;) where internal combustion engines sporadically failed, electrics are superior in every conceivable way as well as in reliability wether you use 1 electric motor or a 100 together they are super reliable, 100 together only amplifies over redundency because 1 motor is already superior in terms of reliability.
So it is exactly what Towerman meant when he said:
"All the more reason electrics are better, they are super reliable you only need 1."