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Moller International Autovolantor (concept design)

Moller International Autovolantor two passenger VTOL concept design aircraft and ground vehicle


Autovolantor (concept design)
Moller International / Freedom Motors
Dixon, California, USA

Moller International was founded in 1983 as a spin-off of Moller Corporation to continue to design, develop and manufacture conventional and hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) passenger and cargo aircraft. Moller's aircraft being manufactured for use in the nascent advanced air mobility (AAM) industry. The company is designing aircraft that are safe, efficient, affordable, easy-to-use as automobiles, low noise, low emissions, low fuel usage, low purchase price, low operating cost and can use existing transportation networks. The company is headquartered in Dixon, California, USA.

The company has developed and integrated novel technologies required for small, powered-lift VTOL aircraft. These include electronic stabilization and control systems, efficient ducted fan designs, thrust vectoring mechanisms and aerodynamically stable composite airframe structures. The single most significant spin-off technology is the Rotapower engine, a Wankel rotary engine. This engine is now produced and marketed by Freedom Motors.

Historically, the company has primarily focused on using petroleum fueled engines for their power source of their aircraft designs and prototypes. Moller International confirmed in June 2023, they are now designing all their aircraft as hybrid-electric VTOL passenger and cargo aircraft. At the same time, it was also confirmed with Moller that any of their past and current aircraft can be designed and manufactured as hybrid-electric VTOL or all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

Autovolantor hybrid-electric VTOL passenger and roadable concept design vehicle
On September 9, 2008, Moller announced the Autovolantor, a hybrid-electric VTOL passenger roadable concept design vehicle that holds two people. The vehicle holds one pilot, one passenger and luggage. The Autovolantor's body style is based on the Ferrari 599 GTB. This means the actual body of the vehicle could be made of carbon fiber composite material instead of aluminium or steel. The reason Moller designed the vehicle is they received a request to design the Autovolantor from a wealthy Russian businessman due overcrowded streets in Moscow.

The cruise speed of the aircraft in flight is estimated at 150 mph (241 km/h), has an expected range of 75 miles (120 km) and an approximate flight time of 30 minutes. The anticipated maximum cruise altitude is 2,500 feet (762 meters). The planned ground range using the Rotapower engines is 150 miles (241 km/h) and has a predicted ground range, using batteries alone, of approximately 40 miles (64 km/h). The empty weight of the aircraft is foreseen to be 2,400 lb (1,088 kg).

The aircraft has eight ducted fans powered by eight Rotapower engines that creates electricity for the battery packs in the car. The aircraft has four wings. The front two wings extend from the front bottom of the car and the rear wings fold open on each side of the vehicle. When the rear wings are folded, they act as spoilers when the car is traveling on the road.

The company performed scale model wind tunnel testing and the analysis predicted good all-around performance for both air and ground tests. Moller estimated the cost to build a prototype is in the range of $3-5 million USD and the Autovolantor would eventually be sold for $250,000.00 USD each. A presentation on the Autovolantor concept design was made at the 2008 SAE Wichita Aviation Technology Congress & Exhibition, in Kansas, USA.

Subscale Autovolantor wind tunnel testing

Subscale Autovolantor wind tunnel testing


  • Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL passenger and roadable concept design vehicle
  • Piloting: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: 1 passenger
  • Cruise speed: 150 mph (241 km/h)
  • Flight time: 30 minutes
  • Range (air): 75 miles (120 km)
  • Range (ground with Rotapower engines): 150 miles (241 km/h)
  • Ground range (batteries alone): 40 miles (64 km/h)
  • Maximum cruise altitude: 2,500 feet (762 meters)
  • Empty weight: ~2,400 lb (1,088 kg)
  • Propellers: 8 ducted fans
  • Electric motors: 8 Rotapower engines create electricity for the batteries
  • Power source: Rotapower engines and battery packs
  • Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite (the body style is based on the Ferrari 599 GTB)
  • Windows: Automobile type windows
  • Wings: 4 wings (2 wings extend from the front bottom of the car, 2 wings fold open in the rear of the car)
  • Landing gear: 4 automobile tires
  • Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers (or ducted fans) and motors on the aircraft so if one or more propellers (ducted fans) or motors fail, the other working propellers (or ducted fans) and motors can safely land the aircraft. There are also redundancies of critical components in the sub-systems of the aircraft. If there is a power failure, the aircraft can glide and land on a runway or road.

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