This drone-like helicopter could soon be whisking commuters to work.
Called the SureFly, the vehicle can carry two passengers up to 70 miles, and was developed with beating traffic in mind.
Stephen Burns, CEO of Cincinnati-based Workhorse Group Inc, says he got the idea after getting stuck in traffic on the school run every day: "Stuck on the highway ñ like everybody you just want to lift up and fly," he explains.
The SureFly will reportedly cost under $200,000 and will go on show at the Paris Air Show on 19 June. Workhorse plan to begin test flights this year, with a view to put it on sale in 2019 when approved by the FAA.
It is powered by a gas combustion engine, with an electric battery safety back-up, and can zip along at 70mph. WIth a flight ceiling of 4000ft, there is also a ballistic parachute to safely land in the event of emergency.
The eight propellers are mounted on four carbon fiber arms that can fold down for storage in a standard garage.
"We made sure this has no single points of failure; engine can fail and youíve got a five minute battery backup to get you down. Itís got eight props, two or three could still fail with a bird strike or something and youíd still get down,î Burns told Fox Business. ìSo, the design is such that itís named SureFly so it would stay in the air."
Anticipated markets for the SureFly are precision agriculture, emergency responders, city commuters and military.
"The helicopter has been around for 78 years and is finally being reinvented," said Burns. "We're excited to unveil the SureFly on the world stage as we believe it represents a major step forward for the global aviation industry. We've designed SureFly by leveraging our expertise in battery-electric powered mobility, controls and gas generators to accelerate the speed to market in this sector."
Where: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
When: 16 May 2017
Credit: Workhorse Group/Cover Images
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The designers of an electric hybrid helicopter hope it could become the next big thing in personal transportation. The SureFly could one day carry two passengers on journeys up to 70 miles (112 kilometres), for those who can afford the expected $200,000 (about N64.4m) price tag. The firm intends to start test flights of the concept vehicle this year and hopes to put it into mass production in late 2019. Watch the video and view more photos below