The E-Volo Multicopter

This 16-prop "volocopter" eyes approval.

The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

Following the successful flight of its 16-prop multicopter last October, E-Volo is moving forward with the production of three commercial variants of the craft.
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

Those variants include a single-seater, like the one shown, as well as a two-seater and an unmanned version.
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

Unlike the prototype that flew last fall, the new variants feature an enclosed cabin below the props, instead of open-air seating located smack-dab in the middle of them.
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

That allows for greater stability due to a lower CG, as well as the opportunity for BRS.
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

Current battery constraints limit the all-electric multicopter prototype to 20 minutes of flight time.
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

Consequently, the first commercial version of the multicopter will feature a serial hybrid system with a range extender.
The E-Volo Multicopter

The E-Volo Multicopter

E-Volo says that system will extend the multicopter's endurance to at least a few hours.
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

The multicopter's 16 props aren't controlled mechanically by the pilot, as is the case in conventional helicopters.
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

Rather, their pitch rotation speed is dictated by multiple independent onboard computers, which controls altitude and directional control.
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

E-Volo goes so far as to call the handling needed to pilot the aircraft “child’s play,” saying that “it takes off and lands vertically and the pilot pays little or no attention to the flight path angle, minimum speed, stall, mixture control, pitch adjustment and many other things which make conventional aviation so demanding.”
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

It is the craft's simplistic controls and functionality that helped it snag the Lindbergh Prize for Innovation a few months ago.
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

The judges cited the craft's "breakthroughs in redundancy, simplicity of controls and inefficiencies inherent in the control surfaces normally used in aircraft" as major selling points for the multicopter.
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

Of the three variants currently in the works, E-Volo says the two-seater is taking priority.
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

The company says it is currently working with a number of partners and expects to develop the technology needed for the multicopter over the next two years.
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

Read more about the new E-Volo volocopter variants here.
The Multicopter from E-Volo

The Multicopter from E-Volo

See pictures of the original E-Volo multicopter that flew for a total of 1.5 minutes last fall here.