so it's electric?
Yes and no. It uses electric motors, and a turbine driven electric generator (like an APU).
It doesn't use batteries, like an electric car.
Electrically powered aircraft with VTOL (Vertical TakeOff Landing capacity) have limited useable range due to battery technology, and are not expected to be practical for at least 10 years.
VTOL or any machine that hovers uses large amounts of energy, similar to how a hummingbird requires constant energy from nectar.
Compare pushing a car with trying to lift a car:
To push a 2 tonne electric car 1 mile along the road only requires 2kWH, but
to lift a 2 tonne vehicle, using electric VTOL methods, 1 mile high in the air, requires 100X as much energy, 200kWH, which would require a 1600kg battery.
(1kWH is the energy used in operating a hair-dryer for 1 hour)
Additionally, electric vehicles take a long time to charge which limits their usefulness. Refuelling FLUTR just takes a few minutes.
If battery technology catches up we will likely transition to electric propulsion.
FLUTR is releasing 3 versions.
FLUTR DTEH (Diesel Turbine Electric Hybrid)
FLUTR HEH (Hydrogen Electric Hybrid)
FLUTR FE (Full Electric)
Only the FLUTR DTEH will be available first. The other 2 models are under development.
autonomous, semi-autonomous, remote piloting.. what’s the difference?
Autonomous means the vehicle can take-off, cruise and land with zero user input. This is not viable for at least 10 years.
Semi-autonomous means that a combination of user and automatic vehicle control is used.
Remote piloting means that a pilot controls some aspect of the vehicle from another location.
More details on the system design utilized by FLUTR will be released at a later stage.
I notice that FLUTR uses large rotors, compared to lots of smaller propellers or jets. Why?
Large rotors = slower rotors = lower noise.
The larger a rotor is, the slower it needs to move, to move air. 4 large rotors are quieter than 8, 20 or 40 propellers or small jets.
A larger rotor is more efficient than a smaller rotor, which means that less energy is dissipated into the air as noise energy.
Low noise is essential for widespread scalable aerial mobility.
if not electric, what do you use for power?
FLUTR model 1 uses bio-diesel automotive grade fuel, or SAF grade fuel.
(SAF = Sustainable Aviation Fuel).
Bio-fuels are widely available in most countries.
The next release model will be Hydrogen fueled (hydrogen combusted also with a turbine)
A tank of hydrogen can be made at home for a few dollars.
Depending on how frequently you use the vehicle, and factoring in the cost of the hydrogen generator means that the fuel costs are similar to gasoline per mile.
Additionally, more and more hydrogen outlets are appearing commercially every year.
In at least 10 years if battery technology allows, FLUTR wil be powered by a battery.
sustainable fuel price and availability?
Sustainable fuels are becoming more available and less expensive every year.
Sustainable fuels are now widely available throughout most developed countries.
A network of sustainable fuel outlets is now becoming available for FLUTR, where you can readily refuel.
Additionally we can deliver a 1000L fuel cube to your garage if you/ your company elect to directly own/lease a FLUTR vehicle.
how does the FLUTR system work?
FLUTR is powered by UAM-OS, a proprietary multi vehicle flight management system, that coordinates individual and multiple flights.
UAM-OS manages the traditional aviation components of terrain, weather, traffic, ATC and vehicle control with onboard and remote pilots, enabling a distributed aerial mobility system that operates with the safety level of an airline grade aircraft and fleet management system.
how is FLUTR better than other drone designs and aircraft?
FLUTR is an aerial mobility system, not just another aircraft. To be successful it has to take into account a lot of aviation problems that are difficult to solve, such as noise, cost, remote piloting, air traffic management, and many others.
The main platform has to have the best configuration imaginable. The configuration, which is the combination of aerodynamics, propulsion and structure, has to perform a given flight mission reliably, quietly, safely, and routinely. For the urban aerial mobility mission profile, the development of a configuration that satisfies these requirements has been extremely difficult. But after years of analysis and design we beieve that the FLUTR configuration is the best possible for the mission of moving millions of people everyday directly from their homes via the air.
FLUTR has been designed to solve a problem, it is not a solution looking for a problem to solve.
And although technically FLUTR is an "aircraft", we like to refer to it more as a "vehicle", as the line between cars and other mobility options get increasingly blurred.
Additionally, FLUTR has a firm development roadmap that leads to the ultimate goal of pure electric flight, if that technology allows.
Perhaps most importantly, FLUTR is designed by aerospace engineers and aviation professionals who are used to working in the highly regulated aviation industry. We are not trying to adapt a drone design to carry people, rather we are designing in the carriage of people from inception, which requires an extremely high level of safety consideration.
is this technology realistic?
There is already a hundred years of precedent for similar technology, including remotely controlled aircraft, electric airacrft, and quadcopters.
FLUTR is in effect continuing the trend by applying the latest aerospace developments to this trend. Hybrid propulsion, adavnced materials and avionics, and many others.
We set out with a clean sheet design, and then looked back to cross check our innovation against what has been done before. There are several concepts which are similar, including the Bell X22 (shown above).