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TECH: Fly through the Sky When You Get Stuck in Traffic
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Fly through the Sky When You Get Stuck in Traffic
By Max Rogers
 

BT 201710 TECH 04
      过去我们曾向大家介绍过可穿戴式飞行器和飞行包,但是对于这类沉重的可背式飞行器,普通人可能难以承受,如果我们在天上翱翔的时候能像坐在私家车里那岂不更妙?显然,拥有这类想法的不止你我,科技的进步已经为我们描绘出了未来各色飞行器的蓝图。

      自由飞上天空最好的选择当然是直升机,目前,SureFly公司推出了一款小型迷你直升机,它可以搭载2人,最远可以飞行70英里。它不仅操作简单,而且还具有一个相对亲民的价格——只需要20万美元你就可以把它带回家并自由地乘坐它翱翔于天空之上。

      另一个更为疯狂的想法是——“打飞的”。是的,未来我们可以不仅仅在路上“打的”,更可以打到在空中飞行的“出租机”,这类飞机将实现无人驾驶,值得骄傲的是这种用于出租服务的无人机来自我们的中国企业——中国亿航(Ehang)。阿联酋首都迪拜道路与交通运输监管部门已经宣布他们测试了一种具备运送乘客能力的无人驾驶飞机作为未来的交通运输工具,以摆脱阿联酋令人头疼的交通拥堵问题。迪拜准备投入使用的Ehang 184无人机是一种比较特殊的机型,其每小时航程可达到62英里(约100公里)。与普通出租车相比,这种无人机可以超越任何不良的路况条件,而且搭载的电池可以保证电机带动8个螺旋桨工作的情况下,持续飞行30分钟。另外,Ehang 184型无人机的充电时间只需要2小时左右。至于安全问题也不用担心,无人机的起飞、飞行和降落都通过地面的监控控制。此外该无人机也是通过专门设计的,可以适应迪拜夏季炎热的白天和寒冷的夜晚的环境。

      看好这一市场的企业和研发人员并不止上述两家,Terrafugia TF-X,AeroMobil 3.0和Moller Skycar都在这一领域努力。德国一家名为E-Volo的初创公司还研制出一款外形酷炫、能够垂直起飞和降落的飞机,并打算将它用于商业用途。E-Volo从2011年开始研制这种飞机,凭借多年的技术积淀推出了Volocopter VC200,这是由18个旋翼组合而成的航天器,并于去年成功试飞。

      无论上述科技成果将于何时广泛应用于我们的生活,可以预见的是,未来的交通系统将得到极大改观,数十年后,我们大概就需要适应全方位立体式的交通规范了。

BT 201710 TECH 02RC drones, especially the little quadcopters, are one of the top selling products these days. Why are more and more people all around the world buying drones? With thousands of different drones for sale that are available at relatively affordable prices, this is the best gift you could give. There is a wealth of these devices to choose from, including RC Drones UAV, RC drone cameras, mini RC drones and so on. With four channels of control, it's quite easy to fly them left, right, forward, backward as well as to hover in a place to grab the perfect shot from air.
 

In addition to small drones, there are also big drone hybrid vehicles which can take to the sky and fly around while carrying passengers inside. This is not a science fiction movie. It is our reality and these unmanned aerial vehicles already exist nowadays.
 

Drone Copter

BT 201710 TECH 06Have you ever wanted to fly across the sky in your own helicopter while enjoying the stunning view with your friends? Yes, it is possible with SureFly! Costing $200,000, this personal drone-chopper is much cheaper than traditional whirlybirds. Controls for this giant drone are maximally simplified in order to keep the operation as simple as possible. They consist of a joystick and a few buttons only. It's even possible to program specific routes into a touch-screen display. This drone copter uses 8 propellers to fly which are spread across 4 rigid arms. That makes it very stable in the air in contrast to the single-rotor, regular helicopters. The system SureFly uses is very much the same as that you can find on the 4-rotor DJI Phantom drones. The "only" difference is that you can sit inside the copter while you are barreling across the air. Yet, you must agree that this makes a big difference, right?
 

Drone Taxis

BT 201710 TECH 03 CHENGA lot of companies are examining the viability of autonomous, airborne taxis. These are meant to solve the problem with congestion in urban areas and reduce the number of transportation woes as well. The city of Dubai offers a great alternative with passenger-carrying drones. In fact, flying drone taxis are going to be introduced in this city as early as this summer!
 

Along predetermined routes, we can expect to see a new passenger service which uses the quad-opener autonomous drones called Ehang 184 to convey people through the air. This drone is capable of carrying one person with a maximum weight of 220 pounds (nearly 100 kg), for about 31 miles at a speed of 100 mph. These drones will be monitored remotely by Dubai officials, who will navigate them from command centers.
 

Volocopter

The revolutionary propulsion, safety and control Volocopter system will be serving as a platform that supports additional aircraft. It is an ideal platform for both heavy-duty drones and vertical take-off manned aircraft. The flight concept makes remote-controlled, piloted and even entirely autonomous aerial operations much smoother.

BT 201710 TECH 05The e-volo VC-200 (or VC-2) is one of the most popular Volocopters in the world. Its precursor, e-volo VC1, which uses all-electric design and 16 engines, was demonstrated in 2011. The VC2 presents the second model in e-volo series and it comes with many improvements. This 2-passenger unmanned copter features an aluminum truss frame, Battery Management Unit and 18 powerful engines. It was demonstrated in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 2013 within an enclosed arena. Two prototypes of this vehicle performed during the flight tests last year. The best is yet to come! The latest model VC 400 is being developed by a German company E-Volo and it will be demonstrated over the coming years.
 

Flying Cars

BT 201710 TECH 07Traveling by a flying car (like in the famous American science-fiction film ‘Back to the Future’) will soon be a reality. But these flying vehicles are going to look more like big drones rather than cars with wings.

BT 201710 TECH 09Up to now, Ehang 184 is the best known flying car. Why is it the best? First of all, this one-person autonomous aerial vehicle works with green technology that uses electricity only. It is designed with 100% redundancy, meaning it can still operate normally if any component of the electric power system starts operating abnormally or disconnects. As mentioned before, it will start ferrying people in Dubai as early as this summer. In addition to Ehang 184, there are a number of flying cars and other drone-based vehicles like Terrafugia TF-X, AeroMobil 3.0 and Moller Skycar.
 

One may ask whether this innovation is going to be a new passenger transport in future. Well, it is impossible to say that for sure because this tech is so fresh that everything is uncertain for now. If these flying vehicles will be available for all people, the current infrastructure has to be adapted. By the way, cities will have to create certain regulations and rules alike. It makes things much harder to realize in practice, but that doesn't stop us from dreaming about what the future will look like.
 

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