The EU-supported concept of a safer, simpler and cleaner helicopter has secured funding via a crowd-funding website in less than three hours, soon after demonstrating the technology in flight.
The Volocopter aircraft, developed by a private German company E-volo, has raised about €1.2m (£1m), surpassing the €500,000 target in just two and a half hours after the campaign’s launch, enough to proceed from a prototype to production.
Compared with conventional helicopters, the volocopter produces zero greenhouse gas emissions. The vehicle’s safety is increased as it is propelled by 18 electrically driven rotors instead of one combustion engine.
The maiden flight and first test flights were conducted in the dm-arena in Karlsruhe with a prototype of the 2-person VC200.
“There are already numerous requests for the Volocopter from around the world,“ said E-volo’s managing director Alexander Zosel.
The team has been working closely with Stuttgart University, performing computer simulations to tune the concept. The test flights have confirmed the expectation the volocopter would be considerably quieter than conventional helicopters.
The vehicle also displayed far less vibrations in the mechanical structure of the aircraft compared with normal helicopters, supposedly thanks to its lightweight carbon structure.
“Such vibrations are a large problem for normal helicopters,“ stated E-volo managing director Stephan Wolf. “These vibrations, together with the deafening noise, usually lead to much discomfort on passenger flights in helicopters.“
The Volocopter is partially funded through the European climate innovation initiative Climate-KIC.