Sixteen tiny helicopters team up to lift a human

The e-volo multicopter is essentially just four large quadrotors stuck together with a seat in the middle. It seems a little odd, but there are several reasons why this idea is absolutely brilliant.

Most helicopters do their business with one giant set of rotor blades. Double that to two rotors, and you can go with slightly smaller ones. Sixteen-tuple that, and you can use tiny little rotors instead: the e-volo multicopter proves that it's not just possible, it may even be a better way to go.

First, you've got redundancy. A lot of redundancy. The e-volo can lose a rotor or an engine and still land safely. In fact, it can lose up to four all at once and barely even flinch. If you're still worried, you can install a safety parachute, since the lack of overhead rotors allows for a shred-free deployment.

Second, you've got simplicity. Compared to a traditional helicopter, there just isn't that much going on with the e-volo. The motors are all independent from each other, each one has an off-the-shelf battery system and controller, and that's pretty much it. That lack of complications means there's less to maintain, less to go wrong, the craft can cope better if something does go wrong, and it's far easier to fix and upgrade, since electric motors are far simpler than their combustion brethren.

Currently, the flight time of the e-volo is constrained by the battery capacity, which gives you between 10 to 30 minutes without crashing, depending on how much Halloween candy you've stuffed your face with recently. It'll only cost you about 10 bucks in electricity to fly this much, and although the e-volo itself probably won't be cheap, it'll be a darn sight cheaper than even the cheapest traditional helicopter.

Check out a video proving that this thing can actually fly, as well as a gallery including the final concept for the craft, just below.

Via e-volo

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