Spectacular Flight of Man-Made Saucers: Unveiling New Horizons of Sky-High Commute

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In an event that would befit an opening scene of a science fiction movie, China recently celebrated the successful launch of its first ever flying saucer-shaped craft. However, fans of extraterrestrial phenomenon need not to get too excited – this is no alien technology.

As reported by Shenzhen Pages, a local news outlet, the saucer is a brainchild of Shenzhen UFO Flying Saucer Technology, an eVTOL (Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) solution provider.

eVTOLs are essentially aircrafts that can take off and land vertically like helicopters, but transition to a more efficient fixed-wing flight once airborne. They have been considered as the future of urban air mobility, potentially enabling rapid, clean and less congested travel within cities.

Intriguingly, the said vehicle can carry a single passenger, operates under both pilot control and autonomous mode. However, as intriguing as it sounds, it possesses a limited range of 15 minutes and a maximum speed of 50 km/h as described by Electrek, an electric vehicle news outlet.

Developed by experts from Beigang University and NPU (Northwestern Polytechnical University), the novel saucer shape serves dual purposes. Firstly, it cleverly conceals the propellers, thus enhancing the safety quotient while flying. Secondly, the distinct shape adds to the overall visual appeal of the aircraft, making it an immediate head-turner.

This eVTOL is envisioned primarily for tourism and marketing initiatives, hence mass production for the affluent Chinese residents to adopt them for daily commuting is not on the cards yet.

America Joins the Saucer Race

Simultaneously, America is also tracing a similar path in the realm of saucer-shaped eVTOL technology. ZEVA Aero, an American company, is developing its own version known as Zero eVTOL. Developed with the assistance from researchers at Washington State University, it is also designed to carry a single passenger, but it takes an edge over its Chinese counterpart when it comes to efficiency and usability.

With an expected range of 80 kilometres on a single charge, Zero eVTOL far outstrips the Chinese saucer, enabling it to serve as a feasible option for urban transport. Moreover, its maximum speed extends beyond 250 km/h, quintupling the speed of the Chinese counterpart. Zero’s debut open-air demonstration in January was a successful spectacle, lasting four minutes showcasing its abilities in manoeuvrability, hovering, low-speed cruising and uphill flying.

Distinctively, the design of ZEVA’s Aero only takes the form of a saucer while in flight. During take-off and landing, the pilot is positioned vertically, adding another layer of dynamism to this technological marvel.

Embracing the Future

The journey towards the mass adoption of flying cars, however, is fraught with regulatory, technical and infrastructural challenges. Still, these early advancements signify a step towards a future where sky-high commute becomes commonplace. While novelty and visual appeal seem to be the driving force behind these saucer-shaped crafts for now, their true potential for revolutionizing air mobility remains largely untapped.

Source: electrek.co

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