It might look like as space hopper surrounded by model helicopters, but the 16-rotor E-Volo is an entirely new kind of helicopter - which can hover motionless in the air without input from the pilot.
Its bold engineer, Thomas Senkel, took the machine on its first manned flight this week - lasting 1 minute 30 seconds.
It's far easier to fly than ordinary helicopters - it's steered by rotor speed, which is computer-controlled, so the pilot just needs to use a joystick as if playing a videogame, rather than controlling multiple complex contorols at once.
The machine has few parts, which could wear out, meaning the aircraft needs little maintenance. Its engineered construction has no complicated mechanics, and redundant engines.
In an emergency, it can land even if four of its 16 rotors fail.
The controls could be integrated with GPS software, and the machine could even automatically avoid obstacles and direct itself to pre-determined locations.
Senkel describes the easy-to-use machine as “good-natured” and potentially capable of replacing the helicopter in many situations.
The three inventors claim their flying machine could be used for inspecting pipelines, as an air ambulance or for taking aerial photographs - as well as just for fun.
The multi-copter is currently only able to fly for around 20 minutes because it runs on lithium-ion batteries.
2011-11-09 13:54 编辑：crystal156