Nepal and Moreno Valley, California, USA
Garudeus Aviation was founded in 2017 by Rishav Shrestha MD, PhD, and has a team of Nepalese aviation enthusiasts, electric vehicle makers and entrepreneurs. They are building a one (1) passenger compact air-land electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) vehicle for urban transport named KiiRA. The team has announced that KiiRA is the world's first compact trike-hexacopter.
What set the team in motion to invent an air-land eVTOL vechicle was that the founder and the rest of the team found themselves and others, getting delayed in traffic which gave them the idea to conceptualized and create their patent-pending road-worthy and air-worthy KiiRA. Several designs goals include to make it easy to transition from ground travel to air travel without the need of a runway or landing strip, and to make the vehicle as simple as possible. As of July 2019, little to no specifications are on their website about the vehicle.
While not stated outright, it looks like team will make their aircraft so it can be manually piloted or autonomous depending upon the level of the flying skill of the passenger. The vision for KiiRA is for personal land and air transportation. The aircraft was specifically designed for use on the narrow, mountainous roads common in parts of Nepal. The aircraft was also designed to fold, condensing its frame for compact driving. Garudeus developed a full-scale mockup of the craft, and plan to fly a full-scale prototype in late 2020 or early 2021. In order to accomplish this goal and others, the team has partnered with M4 engineering, an Uber Elevate partner. The team plans to make a full move to the US in 2022, and is currently seeking funding and working to achieve development goals and partnerships.
Coincidentally, around the same time the Garudeus team was conceptualizing their eVTOL land-air vehicle, Boeing launched the GoFly Prize competition. Garudeus seeks to use any earnings from the GoFly competition to facilitate their entrance into the commercial market. They entered the GoFly Prize Phase II and hope to be in Phase III of the competition.
The aircraft has an epoxy-impregnated carbon fiber cabin, touchscreen displays, pedals and a joystick, a 5.5-gallon (20.8-liter) fuel tank and 40 kW battery, with an empty weight of 414 lb (188 kg). The flight control system uses open source drone technology.
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL
- Capacity: 1
- Empty weight: 414 lb (188 kg)
- Power source: 20.8 fuel tank, 40 kW battery
- Garudeus website
- Article: Meet the Teams: Get to Know Team Garudeus, From Nepal, GoFly Prize, Jun. 29, 2019
- Article: AHS Supports GoFly!, Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2017
- Article: Flying Solo: GoFly Advances Single-Passenger Air Mobility Solutions, Vertiflite, May/June 2019
- Article: GoFly Inspires Innovation, Vertiflite, May/June 2020
- Article: GoFly Teams Prepare to Fly Again, Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2020