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Volocopter Could Be The First Step Toward A Flying Car

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In Back to the Future 2, Marty McFly was famously transported from 1985 to a futuristic 2015 where everyone got around in flying cars, and German company e-Volo is doing its best to make that future a reality.

It looks more like a helicopter, but the Volocopter could be the first step toward an electric flying car. It's a two-seater drone with 18 rotors that can take off and land vertically and get you around just like Doc and Marty McFly in Back to the Future.

e-Volo made the world's first manned flight with an electric multicopter with the VC1 in 2011, where the pilot sat in the open air on top of a set of rotors. The VC1 looked like something that could only be manned by a stuntman, but it has evolved into the VC200 Volocopter, which looks more like a commercial helicopter.

The key difference is that it's designed to be flown by anyone. You fly using a simple joystick, and it's much more stable than a helicopter. The 18 rotors provide a lot of redundancy against system failures. It's also environmentally friendly, running entirely on rechargeable electric batteries.

The Volocopter pictured made its first remotely-piloted flight back in 2013, and now, the e-Volo team in Germany is hoping to make the first manned flight in the next few months.

"The aim is to change the mobility for a lot of people, not only for fun," CEO Alexander Zosel told Wired magazine. "For transportation, and for getting work done."

e-Volo is working with German aviation authorities to allow for such a light sport multicopter.

The prototype two-seater will have a flight time of 20 to 30 minutes, and Zosel expects it to eventually sell for about $340,000.

At that price, the Volocopter is unlikely to replace the family car anytime soon, but Zosel envisions a larger commercial model that can fit four to six people in future.

The Volocopter model for the upcoming manned flight hasn't been revealed yet, but Zosel hopes to show it off to the world at the 2016 EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the biggest air show in the world.

It might not look as good as a DeLorean, and it won't drive on tarmac roads, but in theory at least, the Velocopter or one of its successors could make flying accessible to your average commuter. In the meantime, check out e-Volo's two previous landmark flights below.

2013:



2011:

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