Date:27 September 2017
The makers of the AK-47 bring you the hovercycle, a electricity-powered “flying car”.
By Kyle Mizokami
A Russian defence manufacturer named after the inventor of the AK-47 showed off its “flying car” to company officials and the Internet. The “car”, which has sixteen sets of rotors, could have military applications down the road. Its applications could include scouting, communications, and other tasks.
The unnamed vehicle was demonstrated Monday by officials at Kalashnikov Concern, part of the Russian defence giant Rostec and named after AK-47 designer M.T. Kalashnikov. The company develops and manufactures a wide variety of military small arms. Their products range from modernised versions of the AK-47 in service with the Russian military today to sniper rifles and guided artillery rounds.
Kalashnikov showcases the flying car in this video:
Recently Kalashnikov has begun expanding beyond small arms and ammunition. They’re designing the BAS-01 BM “Soratnik” semi-autonomous combat vehicle and artificial intelligence-powered fully-autonomous gun turret. The new vehicle, dubbed a “flying car” by the Russian media, has eights pairs of rotors that provide lift. The vehicle has a skeletal metal frame and is controlled by a pair of joysticks.
A video released by Kalashnikov shows there is surprisingly little to the hovercycle – there is no gasoline or diesel engine. Two banks of what appear to be batteries are located under the rider and likely provide electricity to the eight pairs of rotors. A shell or chassis is shown superimposed over the vehicle at the end.
But what is it for?
It’s difficult to know what to make of this new flying car. On one hand, the use of electricity saves weight over the use of a petroleum-powered engine and gas tanks. But like quadcopter drones and their kind the vehicle can probably only fly a half hour or less before exhausting its batteries. Until the major breakthrough in battery technology happens that everyone is waiting for, a vehicle like this will have restrictions on flight time and payload. Once that happens, the multi-rotor concept could be scaled upward to power vehicles of all weights and sizes.
This isn’t the first time someone has tried to make a rotor-powered vehicle. The Hiller VZ-1 Pawnee used ducted fans to achieve flight. De Lackner’s HZ-1 Aerocycle used contra-rotating helicopter rotor blades.
From: PM USA