Kelekona, the founder of a startup called, well, Kelekona, has an ambitious idea for the future of mass transportation: A lifting body electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that resembles a flying saucer, a futuristic blimp or, for Gerry Anderson fans, a real-life Thunderbird 2. Its 3D-printed airframe promises to lift off the ground by way of eight thrust-vectoring fans with variable pitch propellers. These will enable each stage of flight, from vertical takeoff to forward flight and landing. “One hundred percent we are trying to compete with public transportation,” Kelekona told Digital Trends.
What differentiates this eVTOL aircraft from that of other companies building rival flying machines isn’t just the design, however: It’s the scale. While Uber Elevate, for instance, promises to launch its air taxi service as soon as 2023, it will carry just four passengers and a pilot.