Vehicle Redesign Company, Ltd (VRCO)
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom
The Vehicle Redesign Company's NeoXcraft is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vectored thrust high-speed vehicle that will fly, drive on land, and can land and take off on water. The project began in 2016 with operational testing slated for 2019 and certification in 2020. The NeoXcraft's feasibility and power optimization studies were undertaken by the University of Derby’s Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering in 2017.
The NeoXcraft is a short lift-body fuselage/cockpit with electric ducted propellers fore and aft on each side. The ducts and propellers rotate to achieve vertical lift to horizontal flight. It will cruise at 210 mph (338 km) with at least 60 minutes of flight time, with a flying range of 75 miles (120 km) and is slated to have a 25 minute recharging period. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 992 lb (450 kg) including a 396 lb (180 kg) payload of two passengers and can fly autonomously.
It includes an emergency parachute system in case of multiple engine failures or a total power failure. The craft has been designed and engineered with multiple redundant safety systems, a suite of sensors to assist pilots, and with sensors to detect and avoid objects using LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology. The sensors are designed to keep passengers safe whether on the ground or in the air because they allow real-time 3D mapping and object detection, tracking and classification.
Vehicle Redesign Company (VRCO) plans to market the craft as a luxury vehicle and is building its interior to be spacious and to pattern after the high class concept aircraft interior design and furnishings. The company has formed a pilot academy to learn to fly the craft and is also taking reservations to own the vehicle when it hits the market. According to a BBC News report in the fall of 2018, the expected cost for this aircraft will be approximately $1.9 million USD.
In December 2020, the Vehicle Redesign Company and Hong Kong based ESR Group announced the two companies have formed a business partnership to use NeoXcraft eVTOL aircraft for a trial phase of an ESR commercial cargo drone delivery service. ESR Group has begun construction of a nine story purpose-built logistics building near Tokoyo, Japan, which ESR calls the world's first cargo drone distribution facility. These test flights will be conducted before revenue cargo drone delivery flights take place. Once revenue flight begin, ESR expects their initial fleet will have more than 24 drones able to deliver 14 tons of cargo on a daily basis. ESR projects the drone logistics building will be completed by 2023.
The testing phase of this facility and using Vehicle Redesign Company's drones will crucial to the success of ESR's cargo drone distribution facility. The scope of the drone testing be to optimize the design of the logistics operation itself including:
- How drones will interact with cargo
- How the drones will interact with each other
- Determining the maximum limit of drones flying to and from the warehouse facility and how many can work inside the facility at one time
- What is the optimum capacity of drones flying and inside the warehouse facility
- How drones will handle battery charging
- How to set and coordinate flight paths from a centralized command system
- How the drones will handle flying in all types of weather conditions
- How the entire logistics system with local and national regulations and laws
- Determining safety and emergency systems
- Aircraft type: eVTOL passenger and cargo aircraft
- Piloting: Autonomous
- Capacity: 2 people
- Cruise speed: 210 mph (338 km)
- Range: 75 miles (120 km)
- Maximum takeoff weight: 992 lb (450 kg)
- Maximum payload: 396 lb (180 kg)
- Propellers: 4
- Electric Motors: 4
- Power source: Batteries
- Recharging time: 25 minutes
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber
- Windows: Panoramic windows with wrap around window design allowing forward, left, right and top visibility, for spectacular views
- Landing gear: Retractable 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 motor or propeller fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. There is also a whole aircraft ballistic parachute for a flight emergency.
- Vehicle Redesign Company website
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- ESR Group website
- Video: VRCO, Paradigm Talks, Apr. 10, 2018
- Article: Flying car team announces exciting collaboration with Kahn Design, Property and Business Investment Show, June 20, 2018
- Video: Futuristic flying car the 'NeoXCraft' could be in the skies soon, Daily Mail, June 20, 2018
- Article: Quanergy Selected as Exclusive LiDAR Partner for VRCO, Business Wire, Sept. 21, 2018
- Article: Company developing 'flying cars', BBC News, Oct. 26, 2018
- Article: Hong Kong-listed logistics firm ESR Cayman to launch world’s first cargo drone facility in Japan, South China Morning Post, Dec. 11, 2020
- Article: ESR Cayman to launch world’s first cargo drone facility in Japan, Urban Air Mobility News, Dec. 15, 2020
- Video: Spaced Out! Podcast Episode 6: DAN HAYES - A Luxury Electric Flying Car, Sarah Begum, Jan. 10, 2021