VTOL has been always been marketed as the ‘holy grail’ of aircraft-based technologies, given its sheer advantage in spatial efficiency. And what if this very scope of vertical takeoff and landing was brought to the realm of personal transportation? Well, Joby Aviation might have some nifty answer to that – courtesy of their newly conceptualized Joby S2 two-seater plane comprising 12 tilting electric propellers for a full-blown VTOL ability. The ambit is however is not just limited to the conspicuous multi-rotor arrangement; these rotors can apparently morph into bullet-shaped components (once the plane has taken off vertically), thus endowing the futuristic aircraft with aerodynamic credentials. This in turn translates to 200 mph (322 km/h) of top-speed and around 200 miles of range – powered by the four separately ‘thinner’ propellers on the rear-ends of the wings and tail fins.
So in total, the Joby S2 will boast a total of 16 propellers, with ten of them arranged along the wingspan and six other arranged along the V-shaped tail (as can be gathered from the image above). And since they are powered by light yet powerful electric motors, the aircraft can take advantage of the fixed-pitch variety (as opposed to conventional helicopters) and still account for optimized torque. In that regard, the working scope of the plane will entail the usage of 12 of these propellers (with low tip speeds) for a stabilized and quiet vertical takeoff. And once the craft has gained its required vertical altitude, the propellers would tilt forward for the provision of horizontal trust.
Now once the aircraft reaches its cruising speed with the aid of the horizontal trust, these 12 tilting propellers would transform into bullet-shaped components that are expected to minimize the air drag, and thus enhance the aerodynamic quality of the transportation vehicle. This will be further complemented by the aforementioned four additional rotors that are placed at the back side of the wings and the tail fins.
All of these maneuvers will be fueled by the specialized power-train comprising lithium polymer batteries (lithium nickel cobalt manganese oxide). These batteries are not only adequate for VTOL but have also been optimized for greater flight range. Both the impressive range and top speed of the Joby S2 alludes to this integrated technology. Furthermore, the designers have also talked about the ‘unprecedented redundancy’ offered by the collective nature of electric motors, thus improving the safety factor of the aircraft even if a few motors malfunction in flight. So all in all, the bottom-line of the design is made clear by the S2 description in the official website –
This environmentally-friendly personal airplane requires 5 times less energy than conventional auto transportation at 5 times the door-to-door speed.
Currently, the Joby S2 aircraft is still going through its development phase, with actual specifications to be divulged in the near future, while price ranges are expected to start from $200,000. For more information, take a gander at the official site.