Volocopter announced yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show that its 2X electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft flew Intel CEO Brian Krzanich on a remotely piloted passenger flight last month. “That was fantastic. That was the best flight I have ever had. Everybody will fly one of these someday,” said Krzanich after completing the flight that took place inside a German exhibition hall.
Florian Reuter, the CEO of Volocopter, said that its eVTOL “is a flying super computer, creating a pleasant and safe ride.” The 2X is designed to operate as an autonomous air taxi and leverages Intel microprocessor and other technology in its flight control solutions, with redundancy and safety features.
Dozens of microprocessors monitor the environment for turbulence, wind, and other parameters and then send signals to the rotors within milliseconds. The rotors can react and perform the slightest adjustments instantly due to their battery powered electric motors.
Volocopter made its first manned flight in 2011 and recently completed autonomous flights in Dubai. In 2016, Volocopter received provisional licensing for a two-seat model from the German aviation authority; and last year the aviation startup entered into an agreement with RTA Dubai.
Investors in the company include Intel and automaker Daimler. Intel has made significant investments in the drone industry with its UAV group, which develops products and software designed to promote further use of Intel technology by supporting drone development. This group created the Intel Aero Compute Board drone system, which fits onto an electronics package the size of a playing card and runs a Linux operating system and Intel’s RealSense technology.