DeLorean is a name previously associated with a futuristic car, which unfortunately turned out to be too wonky and too underpowered to perform well. Since its introduction to pop culture though, it has been one of the flagbearers of the whimsical flying car laden future.
Leaping forward to
2015 2017, and the DeLorean would most likely still bear the same reputation, with a different twist. At the very least, this new DeLorean might just actually take us to where we won’t need roads.
Personal, But not a “Flying Car”
Introduced as early as a few months back last June, the DR-7 was unveiled by DeLorean Aerospace as its next concept aircraft. While it might be a personal vehicle, the company strictly designates it as an all-electric VTOL aircraft. Thus it is not designed to traverse the conventional urban environments typical of what “flying cars” are usually designed to be. Well, design wise it most likely could, but it is not limited to such function.
It might be better to think of it as a more stylized helicopter, mainly because it is actually designed to fill in those performance niches. The sleek and unique aerodynamic design is claimed to make it more efficient than your average business commuter chopper. In between speedy air transports, the company boasts its improved convenience through safety.
According to DeLorean Aerospace, the DR-7 is about 6.1 meters long (along with its wingspan), with its wings foldable to shorten the vehicle to about 2.3 meters. A centerline twin-vectoring configuration between its front and back rotors maintains the stability of the aircraft, akin to “the two-point suspension of a hammock”. Its gimbal system directs motion in 360-degrees, providing yaw and roll control without the need to use conventional rudders. Average top speed is approximated to be about 385 km/h, with its efficient cruise speed lowered to 240 km/h, and pitch variable speed amped to 480 km/h.
Back to the (Near) Future, For Now
While it’s exciting to see its concept and all, the company hasn’t exactly announced their solutions on all of the potential issues their VTOL aircraft would soon have to face. After all, a uniquely configured aircraft such as the DR-7 would most likely have its own set of engineering challenges that have to be tied along with its economic viability.
For instance, it has an advertised range of 200 kilometers. However, battery specifics are yet to be unveiled. At least at this point in time, the development of such efficient, small form factor battery is just a tad bit unlikely (in comparison to other personal VTOLs in development). Air traffic control management is also something that comes into question, with the DR-7’s ambition to become an “extremely safe alternative to conventional aircraft, with the convenience of airport-free access“.
Regardless of the engineering and economic hurdles. however, it is still in the concept stage. DeLorean Aerospace is currently in the talks with other manufacturers to build a prototype, projected to be available as early as next year. If successfully made, the company is then aiming to make the DR-7 commercially available for about $250,000 to $300,000 for the fixed pitch variants.