The Jetsons-style flying car never really materialized, but big drones? Big drones you can actually ride? Those are not only here, they seem to be breeding like rabbits, and this latest eVTOL, the Zeva ZERO, promises to deliver the closest experience to flying like a comic book superhero you can have without eating a full sheet of acid.
The basic idea is simple. The Zeva ZERO is a more-or-less round compartment big enough to fit a single human standing up inside the circle. That “circle” is actually a wing-shaped lifting body that’s attached to electric motors. Once in the air, it pivots forward and you fly prone, like this …
… which, I mean, that’s as Superman-y as Superman-y gets — and the experience is made even better thanks to the autonomous nature of the Zeva ZERO, which means it will fly itself from your point A to point B. All you have to do? Enjoy the ride.
All of which is, admittedly, pretty cool. But, like, why do this at all, and why make it look like a Martian saucer? “Well, keep it simple,” Zeva Aero CEO Stephen Tibbits told New Atlas in a recent interview. “I think Elon Musk said recently that the best part is no part. I love it. The fewer moving parts, the more reliable it is. This particular design came out of a design session we had going into the Boeing-sponsored GoFly prize. One of the requirements was that the whole aircraft had to fit within an eight-and-a-half-foot sphere, and we wanted to maximize our wing area within that space.”
Tibbits imagines several scenarios for the ZERO’s use beyond an autonomous urban air-taxi, however. “We’re seeing extreme interest in rural areas,” he explains. “Especially in countries like Indonesia. They’ve got 17,000 islands, many of them without much infrastructure at all, and they love the idea of being able to move people around like this.”
And, of COURSE there’s plans for a terrifying and murderous autonomous version …
Even without economies of scale, Zeva thinks it can build ZEROs profitably for about $250,000, which is high, but still quite a bit less than something like a Joby or HondaJet. What’s more, none of those options will make you feel like a superhero.
That’s my view on the ZERO, anyway. What’s yours? Check out this video showing the little eVTOL in action, below, then scroll on down to the comments section and tell us if you’d fly in it. Enjoy!
ZEVA & The Future of Transportation
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