CycloTech unveils eVTOL air car concept powered by CycloRotor technology

CycloTech CycloRotor CruiseUp eVTOL Air Car Concept
CruiseUp's 6 CycloRotor setup offers redundancy for safe flight and landing. Its rotor orientation ensures precise sideways, backward flight, and braking without tilting the vehicle.

In a significant stride towards the future of urban mobility, CycloTech has unveiled its groundbreaking eVTOL (electric Vertical TakeOff and Landing) air car concept, the CruiseUp. Emerging from Linz, Austria, this innovative company’s latest offering comes after 15 years of meticulous research and development, spearheaded by its proprietary CycloRotor propulsion system.

The intricacies of CycloRotor: A marine mechanism in the skies

The CycloRotor system traces its roots back to marine technology, specifically the Voith-Schneider propellers. These specialized propellers are akin to rotating barrels, surrounded by wing-like “walls” or blades. Connected to a swashplate via conrods, these blades are designed to tilt in harmony with the barrel’s rotation. The end result is a system that mirrors the operational mechanism of helicopter rotors.

The advantages of such a system in the marine realm are manifold. Think of tug boats, ferries, and firefighting vessels; their ability to pinpoint their position in water, regardless of environmental factors, or to swiftly counteract unanticipated towing forces, all boils down to the quick thrust-vectoring capabilities of the Voith-Schneider propeller.

Weighing the pros and cons

No technological innovation comes without its set of challenges. The CycloRotor system, while revolutionary, is no exception. One significant drawback is the continuous mechanical movement, which invariably increases the maintenance quotient, something that traditional propellers don’t contend with. Furthermore, there’s the issue of efficiency. With blades constantly generating drag but only sporadically producing thrust, there’s a potential compromise on the system’s overall efficiency.

In the eVTOL domain, where the limitations of lithium batteries already pose challenges related to weight and energy efficiency, these considerations are paramount. However, the agility inherent to the CycloRotor might be its saving grace. In an aerial environment marred by unpredictable wind patterns, an eVTOL equipped with CycloRotors might promise better stability, thanks to its rapid response mechanism.

CruiseUp: A glimpse into the future of personal mobility

Venturing beyond the technicalities, let’s delve into CycloTech’s magnum opus – the CruiseUp. Designed for the individual user rather than a shared taxi service, the CruiseUp encapsulates the dream of a personal flight vehicle. Imagine the convenience of a vertical takeoff and landing right from your backyard or driveway.

CycloTech CycloRotor CruiseUp eVTOL Air Car Concept Future
“While the 20th century taught mankind to fly with fossil fuels, the 21st century will see emission-free ‘Flying Cars/Air Cars’ become part of a new normality”, says project manager Andrea Marchsteiner.

While the CruiseUp is roughly 150% the size of a conventional car, its seating capacity is limited to two. A small luggage space, perhaps suitable for briefcases or a weekend bag, adds to its utility.

Although its design might evoke varied reactions, with some likening it to a flying high heel, its operational mechanics are decidedly traditional. Think of it as a multicopter, always reliant on thrust for support. The resultant energy consumption is significant, leading CycloTech to project a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph) with an estimated range of 100 km (62 miles).

However, prospective users might have to hold their excitement for a while. CycloTech’s projected timeline for the CruiseUp’s debut is set for around 2035. By this time, the eVTOL landscape, populated by air taxis and shuttles, will likely have matured, with clearer regulatory pathways and possibly advancements in energy storage technology.

CycloTech CycloRotor CruiseUp eVTOL Air Car Concept Vision
Crafted with the vision of a distant future where every driveway transforms into a vertical takeoff and landing pad for all.

CycloTech’s vision and the road ahead

CycloTech’s practical approach towards the CruiseUp’s timeline is both refreshing and laudable. Fifteen years of perseverance culminating in a functional subscale prototype is no small feat. However, a vital consideration remains – the company’s financial sustainability, especially in light of the prolonged timeline before the CruiseUp’s commercial launch.

An interim solution might lie in leveraging the CycloRotor system for the drone market. The demand for drones, especially those requiring precise positioning, is burgeoning. Asset-inspection drones could significantly benefit from the agility and multidirectional capabilities inherent to the CycloRotor system.

Watch CycloTech’s 176-lb prototype in its inaugural untethered outdoor flight from just a month ago.

Source: CycloTech