The Russian defense manufacturer, Concern Kalashnikov, has released a 30-sec video of their new vehicle that resembles a “flying car.” The vehicle, yet to be named, was demonstrated by the officials of Concern Kalashnikov on September 25, 2017. The prototype has a single-seat with a skeletal metal frame controlled by a pair of joysticks. The footage of the demonstration shows the takeoff, turn around, and landing of the vehicle.
Concern Kalashnikov (named after Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, inventor of AK-47), the largest Russian manufacturing company, belonging to the Russian defense giant, Rostec, manufactures combat and civilian weapons, hunting and civilian guns, and sporting rifles. The company’s new line of business includes unmanned aerial vehicles, multifunctional special-purpose boats, and remote weapon stations.
Followed by Hiller VZ-1 Pawnee (using ducted fans) and de Lackner HZ-1 Aerocycle (using contra-rotating helicopter rotor blades), the “flying car” is the newest among rotor-powered vehicles.
The vehicle designed with 8 tandem rotors does not use diesel engine or gasoline. The rotors that provide lift to the vehicle probably get electricity from the two suitcase-sized battery banks found under the rider.
Usage of electricity leads to reduction in weight compared to gas tanks and engines that use petroleum. The vehicle is designed and expected to find its applications in communications, scouting, and other tasks in the military in the future.
The vehicle can fly for half an hour, or even less, before the battery drains, similar to quadcopter drones and their counterparts, and may face restrictions on the payload and flight time until a major breakthrough happens in battery technology. When that breakthrough happens, the concept of multi-rotor can be scaled up to power vehicles irrespective of size and weight.
The “flying car” joins the “drone you can ride” category along with similar contraptions such as Kitty Hawk Flyer (backed by Larry Page, Founder of Google), flying drone taxis (proposed by Singapore’s Ministry of Transport), hover bikes (demonstrated by US Army Research Laboratory), slick SureFly resembling a mini-helicopter, eco-friendly low-altitude autonomous aerial vehicle-Ehang 184 AAV, and drone-car hybrid (from Airbus).