Ever since Wilbur and Orville Wright achieved infamy with the first powered aircraft in December 1903, man’s fascination with flight has remained constant.
From the infamous “Space Race” in the 1960s to new technologies in military and commercial aircraft in recent decades, as well as ongoing innovation in aerospace for both manned and unmanned missions to outer space, the aviation and aerospace industry continues to make impressive strides.
But it’s not just high-level innovation that’s grabbing headlines these days. A more personal form of flight is also taking hold, with the progression of flying cars and quadcopters. I’ve reported on both here before – including the recent groundbreaking Hoverbike from British-based Malloy Aeronautics at this year’s Paris Air Show.
Well, the Malloy team has some competition…
An Uber for the Sky
Similar to the Hoverbike’s ability to fly both manned and unmanned missions, Dutch software engineer Thorsten Crijns has developed a manned quadcopter called Quadro.
Constructed from lightweight aluminum alloy, Quadro uses no fewer than 20 engines. But before you think it’s massively polluting, lithium batteries provide the power.
The key feature, though, is that Quadro is designed to transport passengers without needing manual control. Think of it as a flying taxi.
As Crijns says, “I envision that governments could use this transportation system and a person could use a smartphone, call the drone, get in there, and go to their desired location.”
The autonomous aspect of Quadro works with the MultiWii Autopilot System, which controls and stabilizes the vehicle.
On that point, Crijns notes that aside from the “technological challenges” behind the scenes, it’s also “really important that people should trust this device.”
Indeed, gaining consumer trust may well be the biggest challenge of all – a mission that “will take 15 years or something,” says Crijns.
In addition, the technology is still in its early days, with Quadro only managing to fly for 10 seconds with a passenger so far. But as Crijns develops the technology, he hopes that negotiations with the Dutch aviation authorities will prove successful in granting him a full flying permit for the aircraft.
Take a look at Quadro in action…