A Hungarian team has been chosen as a technical development partner by Alakai’i Technologies for their vehicle named SKAI, the world’s first hydrogen-powered eVTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing), a passenger drone. The vehicle will be self-driving and environmentally friendly since it is moved by hydrogen motors, so it emits only water.
The Genevation Aircraft Ltd. is operating near Jakabszállás (Bács-Kiskun County), and they believe that the Skai passenger drone is the future of transport. The prototype of the vehicle – built in cooperation with American companies – was introduced on January 22. The machine is designed to weigh 500 kilogrammes and will be able to carry 5 persons for 4 hours with a pilot or even in self-driving mode, 24 reported. The vehicle is going to be environmentally friendly because the six rotors are powered by hydrogen motors, so it only emits water into the atmosphere. Furthermore, there is no need for fossil or nuclear energy to charge the specially-designed batteries of the drone.
Here is a video about what the new aircraft will look like:
The prototype in Jakabszállás cannot take off yet, but the Hungarian company has the technology to build such vehicles in the future. The structure of the machine was designed and built by the Hungarian company, and it is hard-wearing but not too heavy at the same time. The American partner chose the Hungarian ltd because they are experienced in the field of how to make carbon, steel, or titan composites that are not only light but also strong.
Based on the plans of the two companies, a prototype able to fly will be built by 2023, and Ákos Fehér, the co-owner of the American partner, added that
they aim to design and build a vehicle eligible for mass production.
The Alaka’i plans to design something that can become the basis of future transport, and there are already companies like Uber and Lyft which are interested in the project. Of course, flying from A to B with drones will not happen tomorrow. If the vehicle is ready by 2023, it will take at least 2 more years until the American Special Flights Authorization (FAA) will enable its use in the United States.
Since the cities and the legal framework are not ready for such transport solutions, the vehicles will probably appear first in goods transport, for example between stores and hospitals or shops.
Skai is not the first drone the company plans to build.
Genpro designed and built by the Genevation
took off in 2016, and the Hungarian team got the third place with it on the European Aerobatic Championships in the Czech Republic.