Witnesses in Hollister, California reportedly saw the vertical take-off plane hover about 8 metres above the ground, land, and then hover again. Many are referring to planes of this nature as flying cars because of their ability to take off vertically, which allows them to be stowed in driveways.
Zee.Aero isn’t the only company interested in vertical take-off planes — here are 5 others.
1. German company eVolo wants to make its multicopter the future of urban mobility. Called the Volocopter, it has 18 rotors and can fit two people.
The Volocopter is powered by six batteries that allow for 20 minutes of flight, but eVolo is working to get that up to an hour. The company has begun manned testing in Germany and aims to roll out a production model in two years.
The final version of the Volocopter will be able to reach 100km/h. It has 130 independent computers onboard that could allow it to fly autonomously later on.
2. Airbus is developing a vertical take-off plane under its Silicon Valley arm A³ as part of its Project Vahana. The aircraft will be autonomous and can carry a single passenger or cargo.
Airbus is also designing a flying taxi system, named CityAirbus, that would have multiple propellers and resemble a small drone. Multiple people would be able to book a ride on the flying taxi system via an app.
Airbus wrote on its website that the CityAirbus taxi would first be operated by a pilot, but that a fully autonomous version would be released once regulations are in place. However, the flying taxi wouldn't land and pick you up from wherever. You would have to go to the 'nearest helipad' for a lift after booking a seat.
3. Chinese drone company EHang is working to get its giant, taxi drone in the air as soon as federal regulations will allow it. It can carry 100kg, cruise at 100km/h, and fly over 3500 metres.
The EHang is another Uber-like system in that passengers would enter their desired location and the drone would then fly on its own.
A prototype of the EHang has been tested in China, but the company is still working to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to begin flying in the US.
4. Terrafugia is building a car that can take off, fly, and land autonomously -- but you would still have to drive it manually.
The plug-in hybrid has a range of 500 miles, and it can take off vertically so you don't need to be on a runway for lift off.
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