Made-in-Singapore's Flying Car Ready to Enter United States Skies
A Singapore firm has unveiled a one-seater flying vehicle that it hopes could be used for door-to-door transportation in urban areas when it is launched in the United States.The personal aerial vehicle, named Crimson S8, is earmarked to launch in California late next year, Neo Aeronautics said. It will not be launched in Singapore because of the local regulations .
The vehicle is currently undergoing indoor trials without an operator on board in Loyang. Neo Aeronautics is looking to fine-tune the model and conduct outdoor trials soon.
The Crimson S8 fits into a standard car-park lot, takes off and lands vertically, can fly at a minimum height of 15m with a top speed of 100km/h, and take on a load of up to 100kg.
Associate Professor (Adjunct) Neo Kok Beng, the chief executive and founder of Neo Aeronautics, said this means that when it is fully operational, it will be able to fly above double-decker buses and expressways, and accommodate the weight of the average American or Singaporean.
However, the company plans to launch the vehicle, once ready, in the United States only, he said, because Singapore regulations do not allow for personal aerial vehicles to be operated in the open.
In the US, they can be flown in suburban housing areas, while heavily populated urban areas are out of bounds.
This makes the Crimson S8 ideal for commuting to work or to the nearest supermarket, Assoc Prof Neo said. If a user flies the Crimson S8 out of the authorised zones, geo-fencing technologies will automatically force the vehicle to land.
By 2025, Neo Aeronautics hopes that there will be 1,000 Crimson S8 each in 25 cities, making 50 million trips yearly.
The flying car has been developed as an “ultralight vehicle” under the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules, so that anyone would be able to use it, Assoc Prof Neo said. Under US law, operators of ultralight vehicles do not need a pilot licence. There are also no age or experience requirements.
However, the company is looking at only permitting those aged 16 and above to pilot the Crimson S8, and plans to require users to attend simulations and short training sessions of about one to two hours.
The development model of the Crimson S8 can fly for about 20 minutes, but the four-man team behind the project plans to increase this to between 30 and 100 minutes with a hybrid generator.
Assoc Prof Neo said that the cost of using the Crimson S8 will be comparable to taking a taxi in the US, with charges of about US$50 for 30km.
The development of flying vehicles has picked up speed worldwide.
German aviation start-up Volocopter is aiming to perform a series of urban flight tests of its air taxis in Singapore later this year. The firm's air taxi resembles a helicopter, but is based on drone technology and can fly two people for about 30km. It is designed specifically for inner-city missions and can carry 160kg.
Meanwhile, aviation giant Boeing said in January that its prototype "flying car" had completed its first successful test flight outside Washington. It was designed for fully autonomous flight from take-off to landing, with a range of up to 80km.
Source: Malay Mail | The Straits Times