Volocopter GmbH was founded in 2011 in Karlsruhe, Germany by Alexander Zosel and Stephen Wolf with the intent of making an electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) multicopter aircraft for fast and efficient urban travel. The company was known as “e-volo GmbH” until July 2017 and its name is now Volocopter GmbH. Volocopter announced in February 2020 that it had raised a total of €122 million (approx. $145M USD) since inception.
In 2015, Volocopter received the “Climate Champion COP21” award at the Paris Climate Conference (held 30 November - 11 December 2015) in Paris, France, for the Volocopter. Also in 2015, the company stated the Volocopter is being designed to be flown with the option of being piloted drone, remotely, or autonomously, for passenger aircraft. For cargo aircraft, the Volocopters are being designed to be flown remotely or autonomously. The Volocopter is simple, safe and green.
Volocopter's original plan, at the time, was to have a one, two and four seat eVTOL aircraft passenger models. In addition, the airframes for each of the passenger models would also be used as a base designs, for three different sized cargo-only eVTOL aircraft models as well. For a total of six Volocopter models, three passenger models and three cargo-only models.
In the first video below, titled, "Mission Volocopter VC007" a Volocopter concept aircraft called the VC007 was used successfully used to convince their research and industrial partners of the vision of Volocopter at the start of their company in 2012. The concept shown in that video became a reality with the Volocopter VC200 model.
The VC007 concept eVTOL is a one passenger aircraft with an open cockpit, has a full front windscreen, with no side windows and no doors. The pilot's legs hang over the fuselage and their feet are supported by a foot rest, similar to a motorcycle's configuration. In the video, the VC007 aircraft is controlled by a joy stick and even has a hoist with a cable to lower the pilot while the aircraft is hovering in the air. After the pilot leaves the aircraft, he reveals a watch-type used to fly the aircraft by remote control.
The VC007 eVTOL concept aircraft has a pusher propeller, an small H-tail, apparently for a more stable flight, and tricycle wheeled landing gear. This is the only Volocopter concept design with wheeled landing gear.
At the end of the video, it shows e-volo VC007 leaving the city and traveling out over a body of water to a remote island. The pilot deploys a purple inflatable flotation device and lands the aircraft in water, then uses the pusher propeller to propel the aircraft through the water before docking the aircraft on the beach.
Several benefits of the VC007 concept aircraft:
- Easy to fly with a joystick
- Autonomous flying if one chooses, no pilot skills necessary
- Remote control piloting
- Safe to fly
- Very efficient
- Simple and reliable
- Less failures than a petroleum powered aircraft
- Less maintenance costs
- Lower operational costs
- Affordable and almost maintenance-free
- Clean Aviation: No pollution, all electric
- Much quieter than a helicopter, makes for a more pleasant ride and doesn't disturb people on the ground
In addition, in 2016, Volocopter boasted more than 100 microprocessors and other sensors. These sensors allow the aircraft to automatically read and adjust its position and altitude during normal flight, correct for pilot errors, compensate for turbulence and achieve stable flight in windy and gusty conditions, land safely even in an emergency, and take over many of the more complex steps involved in when compared to flying a helicopter.
Furthermore, since there are many small propellers (and not several large rotorblades), the cost of production, maintenance and noise goes rapidly down. At the same time, this reduces the weight of the aircraft which also increases the efficiency of the aircraft. Example, the aircraft can fly longer on less power because it is a lighter aircraft. The other advantage of small propellers and electric motors is lower noise.
In the summer of 2012, the company was planning to make the VC400 production model for sale by 2015; however, this eVTOL concept design never made it to a prototype or production model, as far as we know. The company sees the use of their multicopters for UAM, recreational use, farming, search and rescue operations, cargo, air taxi service and more.
For more information on the other aircraft developed by Volocopter, please see the following aircraft pages:
- Aircraft type: eVTOL concept design to show investors
- Piloting: 1 pilot
- Propellers: 19 (18 VTOL propellers, 1 pusher propeller
- Electric Motors: 19
- Cruise speed: Unknown
- Cruise altitude: Unknown
- Range: Unknown
- Flight time: Possibly 20 to 30 minutes
- Control mechanism: Joystick and remote control as small as the size of a watch
- Cockpit: Open cockpit with no doors or side windows
- Windows: A full front windscreen
- Seating: Legs drop over the fuselage and feet rest on foot rests
- Tail wing: The aircraft has a small twin tail, also called an H-tail
- Landing gear: Tricycle wheeled landing gear
- 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. There is also an aircraft parachute. Has automatic altitude control, automatic gentle landing, crosswinds and turbulence is automatically compensated for. Redundancy has been built into the aircraft so if one critical system breaks, there are other same exact systems so the aircraft can continue flying and safely land.
- Volocopter website
- Volocopter Facebook
- Volocopter Twitter
- Volocopter YouTube
- Volocopter Wikipedia
- Video: Mission Volocopter VC007, Volocopter, Oct. 29, 2014
- Video: Mobility of the Volocopter - visualization of a vision during the SwissECS 2014, Volocopter, Oct. 30, 2014
- Article: Volocopter honored at the Paris Climate Summit, Repulni Jo, Dec. 14, 2015
- Article: Let The Flying Car Wars Begin, Fast Company, June 9, 2016
- Article: Volocopter: The Drone of the Future, Drone and Quadcopter, June 16, 2016
- Article: German Ultralight VTOL Innovations, eVTOL News, Sept. 1, 2016
- Article: Volocopter VC400 around the Golden Gate Bridge, Repulni Jo, Sept. 9, 2016
- Article: The Demand for On-Demand Mobility, eVTOL News, Jan. 1, 2017
- Article: DB Schenker invests as Volocopter extends Series C Round to € 87 million, Volocopter, Feb. 21, 2020