The six-person “flying car” will have roughly the same capabilities as the air taxis that are popping up in increasing numbers these days, but there are some significant differences compared to the Volocopter or Lilium.
According to a press release issued by the Russian government’s Advanced Research Foundation (roughly the Russian equivalent of DARPA), Cyclocar is being developed by the Russian Academy of Sciences under the Cyclone Project, and the prototype could be ready as early as 2022. It will be an all-electric, 6.2×6 metre vehicle capable of carrying 600 kilograms of cargo or six passengers at a time.
What’s striking at first glance is that the Cyclocar is equipped with so-called cyclic propellers, which work slightly differently to other eVTOL propellers – to see exactly how they work, watch the video above. Another feature of the Russian flying car is that, in addition to being fully electric, it will later be available with a hybrid drive system, so it can be fitted with either a petrol or turbo engine to suit your needs. The Cyclocar will be capable of speeds of up to 250 km/h in the air, according to the announcement, and its range of 500 km is considerably longer than most eVTOLs.
According to the Russian government, one of the great advantages of the vehicle is its versatility, as it can be used not only to transport soldiers but also for air rescue or even civil aviation. Among the advantages of the vehicle, the statement mentions its excellent manoeuvrability, low noise levels, the ability to land on slopes of up to 30 degrees and the ability to dock on vertical surfaces. The Cyclocar will also be easy to drive, and according to the Advanced Research Foundation, will be no more difficult to control than a modern car. This can be done remotely from the control centre, but the on-board computer will also allow the pilot to control the machine from the passenger cabin, giving heading, airspeed and other data.
So far, the developers have been experimenting with a small prototype of the Cyclocar developed in 2020, which has undergone several successful tests, and the full-scale prototype is planned to be ready next year. After these tests, production of the Cyclocar is expected to start in 2024.