Varon Vehicles Corporation
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Twenty years ago, Felipe Varon conceived the idea of developing a new way to fly that was simpler, cheaper and worked well for Urban Air Mobility (UAM). Back then in 2000, electric drones were starting to be made and Varon imagined that these drones could be scaled up for urban passenger transportation or the flying cars of the future. The Varon Vehicles Corporation was founded in 2016 by Varon to make his dream happen.
The V200 and V210 eVTOL aircraft is the work of Felipe Varon, a graduate of MIT Professional Education’s Professional Certificate Program in Innovation and Technology The company is not developing air vehicles: the V200 and V210 are eVTOL conceptual designs to acquire information on eVTOL performance, vertiport requirements, airspace integration architecture and human machine interface for the operators. The company is working with eVTOL manufacturing companies to provide them with their eVTOL fleets.
The company’s goal is to use the technology to have a positive social impact which includes offering low cost on-demand and pay-per-flight air transportation in road congested urban areas and developing countries and provide clean air transportation. Air safety is the number one priority for the company.
Varon Vehicles is creating UAM ecosystems which includes developing confined and controlled transportation systems including vertiports, which connect to each other with virtual flying lanes for UAM air aircraft, without the need for Air Traffic Control to be involved.
The Varon V200 is a three propeller electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft vehicle that will use simplified pilot controls aided by flight software for low altitude two passenger and cargo flights. Varon foresees his aircraft as being flown by a computer and the "driver" (instead of pilot, per Varon) uses a steering wheel to "drive" the car. If the driver makes a mistake, the computer will take over and make course corrections and if necessary make an emergency landing for the passengers. In fact, the dashboard will look more like that of a car than an aircraft cockpit.
The design of the V200 has been designed with a very luxurious look and the look has a retro 1940s appearance which could possibly be a cross between a Batmobile and a Rolls Royce. The V200T (two passengers) and V200C (employing a cargo module) variants will employ one forward and two rear tilt electric propellers with the aim of zero emissions.
The vehicles construction, controls and vertiport-to-vertiport flight parameters is predicated on the concept of "Urban Friendliness". Company trained and certified drivers will have general control of the craft using simplified controls more similar to a car than an aircraft. An on-board, off-line (hack free), computer will keep the V200 within a safe range of flight dynamics and control vertical take-offs and landings.
The company plans to build the vertiports along with other companies in the UAM industry. The company estimates the maximum distance between vertiports will be six to eight miles in distance, during the beginning of their project. There will be vertiports with a much shorter distance between them, as well.
Varon envisions developing and employing a centralized Traffic Management System (TMS) confining the ‘driver’ and craft within a narrow path and very low altitude. Varon's Traffic Management System will assign all of Varon Vehicles' aircraft into virtual lanes and keep them separated at safe distances, as well as away from all other air traffic. If the occupant’s actions require a full computer override the V200 will detect and instigate an auto-land program.
The Varon Vehicles Corporation has done a soft-launch for the V200 prototype in Varon’s native Colombia. They have been in conversation with the aeronautical regulatory authorities in several European countries and plan to approach the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for a possible test site in Texas. The company has a defined strategic plan, including a three year research and development phase which has been completed.
The next phase is the construction of vertiports with a fleet of eVTOL aircraft for public cargo use first, then passenger use. The company has stated they have passed the pre-seed phase and are now entering the Construction Phase which is set to last some four to five years, building the first vertiport to be built in Colombia. During this phase the remaining business units will also be completed which includes establishing aircraft fleets and airspace integration work with authorities. They estimate that they should have their system up and running for public urban passenger air transportation in seven years.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL concept aircraft to use to collect data needed to build vertiports, make airlanes and determine how to safely fly multiple eVTOL aircraft in an urban environment
- Capacity: 2 people (1 pilot and 1 passenger)
- Piloting: A computer will fly the aircraft, the driver will have a steering wheel to "drive" the car. If the driver makes a mistake, the computer will make course corrections so that accidents don't take place.
- Cruising speed: 62 mph (100 km/h)
- Cruising altitude: Low, up to 500 feet (152 meters)
- Propellers: 6
- Electric motors: 6
- Cruising altitude: Low, up to 500 feet (152 meters)
- Landing gear: Low and shallow struts which are part of the fuselage
- Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. The aircraft will also take over if the driver makes a bad decision, the aircraft will land itself if necessary to keep everyone safe.
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- Article: A Mighty Vision, Industry Era Review, (no date)
- Article: Smart City Expo World Congress 2017, K-Lagan, Nov. 30, 2017
- Article: One man’s flying car dream is taking off, thanks to MIT, MIT Professional Education, Sept. 26, 2018
- Article: Flying Cars Could Provide Deliveries to Underserved Communities, Engineering, Oct. 4, 2018
- Video: V200 Flying Cars, Varon Vehicles, Feb. 20, 2019
- Article: Could Urban Air Mobility Enable Growth In Latin American Cities?, Aviation Week, June 9, 2020