Drones, by definition, are unmanned aerial vehicles. But what happens when a drone is big and powerful enough to carry a person, can it still be considered a drone?
For these purposes, we'll call it a drone hybrid: part helicopter, part super-sized drone. And the video of this thing, called the Volocopter VC200, is something you won't want to miss.
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The company behind the Volocopter, E-Volo, announced the success of its first manned flight with a video featuring managing director Alexander Zosel.
The Volocopter is held aloft by 18 separate rotors and is maneuvered with a joystick and altitude control buttons. In a release, Zosel said the air vehicle hovered in place when he let go of joystick, which is a feature many current consumer drones employ for safer flight.
Also similar to drones, the vehicle has an automatic landing button that brings it slowly to ground without the pilot’s help.
Now that the company has a successful flight under its belt, E-Volo said its next goal is to produce a lot more Volocopters. With these, the company mentions entering into air sports, air taxiing and even public transportation.
As testing and design experiments improve the drone/helicopter hybrid market, it’s possible that we’ll see more movement toward using these electronic air vehicles as opposed to gas-powered helicopters, similar to how electric cars with autopilot features have been increasing in popularity over the years.