Aircraft

The Workhorse Surefly could become a two-seat sportscar of the skies

The Workhorse Surefly could be...
The Workhorse Surefly will have a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph
The Workhorse Surefly will have a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph
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The 1,100 kg Workhorse Surefly uses an electric quadcopter layout with two contra-rotating propellers on each corner and a range-extending petrol engine, giving it a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph.
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The 1,100 kg Workhorse Surefly uses an electric quadcopter layout with two contra-rotating propellers on each corner and a range-extending petrol engine, giving it a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph.
The 1,100 kg Workhorse Surefly uses an electric quadcopter layout with two contra-rotating propellers on each corner and a range-extending petrol engine, giving it a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph.
2/23
The 1,100 kg Workhorse Surefly uses an electric quadcopter layout with two contra-rotating propellers on each corner and a range-extending petrol engine, giving it a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph.
Workhorse already builds range-extended trucks and the Surefly uses the same range-extending BMW 600cc twin-cylinder generator engine as the company's pick-up and step van offerings
3/23
Workhorse already builds range-extended trucks and the Surefly uses the same range-extending BMW 600cc twin-cylinder generator engine as the company's pick-up and step van offerings
The 1,100 kg Workhorse Surefly uses an electric quadcopter layout with two contra-rotating propellers on each corner and a range-extending petrol engine, giving it a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph.
4/23
The 1,100 kg Workhorse Surefly uses an electric quadcopter layout with two contra-rotating propellers on each corner and a range-extending petrol engine, giving it a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph.
Workhorse already builds range-extended trucks and the Surefly uses the same range-extending BMW 600cc twin-cylinder generator engine as the company's pick-up and step van offerings
5/23
Workhorse already builds range-extended trucks and the Surefly uses the same range-extending BMW 600cc twin-cylinder generator engine as the company's pick-up and step van offerings
The Workhorse Surefly will have a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph
6/23
The Workhorse Surefly will have a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph
The Surefly could easily become a two-seat sportscar of the skies with a very affordable price tag.
7/23
The Surefly could easily become a two-seat sportscar of the skies with a very affordable price tag.
The 1,100 kg Workhorse Surefly uses an electric quadcopter layout with two contra-rotating propellers on each corner and a range-extending petrol engine, giving it a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph.
8/23
The 1,100 kg Workhorse Surefly uses an electric quadcopter layout with two contra-rotating propellers on each corner and a range-extending petrol engine, giving it a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph.
The Surefly could easily become a two-seat sportscar of the skies with a very affordable price tag.
9/23
The Surefly could easily become a two-seat sportscar of the skies with a very affordable price tag.
The Surefly could easily become a two-seat sportscar of the skies with a very affordable price tag.
10/23
The Surefly could easily become a two-seat sportscar of the skies with a very affordable price tag.
Workhorse already builds range-extended trucks and the Surefly uses the same range-extending BMW 600cc twin-cylinder generator engine as the company's pick-up and step van offerings
11/23
Workhorse already builds range-extended trucks and the Surefly uses the same range-extending BMW 600cc twin-cylinder generator engine as the company's pick-up and step van offerings
The Workhorse Horsefly in action.
12/23
The Workhorse Horsefly in action.
The Workhorse Horsefly in action. during trials with UPS.
13/23
The Workhorse Horsefly in action. during trials with UPS.
The Workhorse Horsefly in action.
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The Workhorse Horsefly in action.
The Workhorse Horsefly 
15/23
The Workhorse Horsefly 
The Workhorse Horsefly in action. during trials with UPS.
16/23
The Workhorse Horsefly in action. during trials with UPS.
The range-extending engine of the Workhorse pick-up and truck originates from BMW where it is used in the i3 car
17/23
The range-extending engine of the Workhorse pick-up and truck originates from BMW where it is used in the i3 car
The range-extending engine of the Workhorse pick-up and truck originates from BMW where it is used in the i3 car
18/23
The range-extending engine of the Workhorse pick-up and truck originates from BMW where it is used in the i3 car
The range-extending engine of the Surefly originates from BMW and is already in use in BMW products in several ways. In the i3 car, it is used as a range-extender, and the same convenient form-factor of the compact, narrow and flat engine is that it also provides the motive power for BMW's super scooter C600.
19/23
The range-extending engine of the Surefly originates from BMW and is already in use in BMW products in several ways. In the i3 car, it is used as a range-extender, and the same convenient form-factor of the compact, narrow and flat engine is that it also provides the motive power for BMW's super scooter C600.
The range-extending engine of the Surefly originates from BMW and is already in use in BMW products in several ways. In the i3 car, it is used as a range-extender, and the same convenient form-factor of the compact, narrow and flat engine is that it also provides the motive power for BMW's super scooter C600.
20/23
The range-extending engine of the Surefly originates from BMW and is already in use in BMW products in several ways. In the i3 car, it is used as a range-extender, and the same convenient form-factor of the compact, narrow and flat engine is that it also provides the motive power for BMW's super scooter C600.
The range-extending engine of the Workhorse pick-up and truck originates from BMW where it is used in the i3 car
21/23
The range-extending engine of the Workhorse pick-up and truck originates from BMW where it is used in the i3 car
The Workhorse Horsefly in action. during trials with UPS.
22/23
The Workhorse Horsefly in action. during trials with UPS.
The Workhorse Horsefly in action. during trials with UPS.
23/23
The Workhorse Horsefly in action. during trials with UPS.

The 2017 Paris Air Show begins two weeks from now, bringing a rash of new announcements at the bleeding edge of commercial aerospace. Foremost among them this year is a very credible, two-seat flying car.

The 1,100 kg Workhorse Surefly uses an electric quadcopter layout with two contra-rotating propellers on each corner and a range-extending petrol engine, giving it a range of 70 miles and a top speed of 70 mph. The gas engine can then be fueled quickly with petroleum for immediate onward flight.

The Surefly could easily become a two-seat sportscar of the skies with a very affordable price tag.
The Surefly could easily become a two-seat sportscar of the skies with a very affordable price tag.

The Surefly thus could easily become a two-seat sportscar of the skies with a very affordable price tag.

The Surefly could easily become a two-seat sportscar of the skies with a very affordable price tag.
The Surefly could easily become a two-seat sportscar of the skies with a very affordable price tag.

The most comforting factor is the expertise Workhorse has already demonstrated in all the key aspects of the design.

The range-extending engine of the Workhorse pick-up and truck originates from BMW where it is used in the i3 car
The range-extending engine of the Workhorse pick-up and truck originates from BMW where it is used in the i3 car

Workhorse already builds range-extended trucks and the Surefly uses the same range-extending BMW 600cc twin-cylinder generator engine as the company's pick-up and step van offerings.

The range-extending engine of the Surefly originates from BMW and is already in use in BMW products in several ways. In the i3 car, it is used as a range-extender, and the same convenient form-factor of the compact, narrow and flat engine is that it also provides the motive power for BMW's super scooter C600.
The range-extending engine of the Surefly originates from BMW and is already in use in BMW products in several ways. In the i3 car, it is used as a range-extender, and the same convenient form-factor of the compact, narrow and flat engine is that it also provides the motive power for BMW's super scooter C600.

The engine is already in use in BMW products in several ways. In the i3 car, it is used as a range-extender, and the same convenient form-factor of the compact, narrow and flat engine is that it also provides the motive power for BMW's super scooter C600.

The range-extending engine of the Surefly originates from BMW and is already in use in BMW products in several ways. In the i3 car, it is used as a range-extender, and the same convenient form-factor of the compact, narrow and flat engine is that it also provides the motive power for BMW's super scooter C600.
The range-extending engine of the Surefly originates from BMW and is already in use in BMW products in several ways. In the i3 car, it is used as a range-extender, and the same convenient form-factor of the compact, narrow and flat engine is that it also provides the motive power for BMW's super scooter C600.

In being purposed for range-extending, the characteristics of the motor are considerably revised as the engine serves as a low-emission, high efficiency electricity generator – peak output of the motor is almost halved in the process.

The Workhorse Horsefly in action. during trials with UPS.
The Workhorse Horsefly in action. during trials with UPS.

Even more comforting is that the company already makes the commercially available Workhorse HorseFly UAV Delivery system and is thus experienced at developing commercially-available multicopter flight control systems.

The Workhorse Horsefly 
The Workhorse Horsefly 

The Horsefly is an octocopter delivery drone that docks on the roof of a delivery truck and can autonomously deliver a package then meet up with the mother vehicle at its new location on the delivery route. Workhorse has a proprietary system and has also worked with United Parcel Service (UPS) to incorporate drones into day-to-day delivery operations.

The Workhorse Horsefly in action. during trials with UPS.
The Workhorse Horsefly in action. during trials with UPS.

The Horsefly has a 30-minute flight time and can carry a package weighing up to 10 pounds.

Workhorse already builds range-extended trucks and the Surefly uses the same range-extending BMW 600cc twin-cylinder generator engine as the company's pick-up and step van offerings
Workhorse already builds range-extended trucks and the Surefly uses the same range-extending BMW 600cc twin-cylinder generator engine as the company's pick-up and step van offerings

There is little more known about the Surefly at this point, but two weeks from now, we expect the two-seater to become yet another prototype promising that affordable personal flight is now tantalizingly close.

Source: Workhorse

21 comments
DFrancis
Impressive stuff, and seemingly viable. But what gets me about drones is the noise: can you imagine a neighborhood with several of these vehicles; the sound would be like the loudest stadium full of vuvuzelas. How about using slower rotating, wide-chord propellers with adjustable pitch, or is that not suitable for electric motors?
piperTom
I'm skeptical for a different reason. Suppose your landing pad is like mine and has a bit of gravel or some debris from nearby trees. The down-wash from the props is going to propel that stuff away from your landing -- fast! You'd injure bystanders and break windows. Flying cars will come, but only after we build up infrastructure to make landing and takeoff safe.
KaiserPingo
Love it.
habakak
Flying car? Where are the wheels? How do you actually drive this thing? Where is the 'car' part of this?
f8lee
Two things: first, the BMW scooter (both of them, the C650GT and the C600 Sport, recently renamed the C650 Sport) have a 650 (technically 647)cc engine, not 600. Why BMW named the latter a C600 despite having the exact same engine and drive train as the 650GT is anyone's guess, though I imagine some marketing genius thought it a good idea. More importantly, given the level of moronic idiots driving in 2 dimensions today, the thought of one of these self-important easily-distracted losers hovering above is positively petrifying.
ljaques
Now we're talkin'. ME WANT ONE! <g> I know there are plenty of problems with public ownership of air vehicles, but having a little model like that would be just great. I shudder at the cost, coming from BMW and the aviation industry. Now to work out the warning systems which light up the area of your Surefly in the direction which some idiot just entered your airspace. (NNW section of the cockpit lights up, etc.)
Lardo
"...promising that affordable personal flight is now tantalizingly close." Bwahahahahahahahahaha. Like we haven't heard THAT before.
ezeflyer
They're getting there. At least the unshielded props are above the passengers heads unlike on the more unstable Chinese, low hedge trimmer version. Speaking of which, it could use its self -driving feature.
RXStephen
@f8lee If we get flying cars, they will have to be driverless (pilotless) from the get go. Considering we already have autonomous drones, the leap to creating a personal flying vehicle that you simply get in and set a destination is not beyond current technology. Although a centralised traffic control system will be needed when the skies get full.
guzmanchinky
I can't wait. I'm seriously thinking about buying an Icon A5 but this seems cooler, more versatile. Cheaper...