The model takes a 4-rotor drone design scaled up to an eight-foot-long craft that can carry a person in a canopy similar to that of an F1 racing car pod.
It’s made of an aluminium frame with foam and carbon fibre walls. The next stage of the design will incorporate wings.
RMIT aerospace engineering student Stephanie McCulloch said the craft would be able to take off vertically, meaning it wouldn’t require an airstrip or large space to take off and land, and featured simplified controls so there’d be no requirement for formal training
“The concept is a personal and affordable recreational vehicle that you can race other people in, without the need for hours of flight training or the massive amounts of money associated,” she said.
“It’s taking aerospace into the next generation of personal use vehicles and shows what university students, academics and industry can produce together. These competitions are great for bringing to life the next wave of ideas and innovations.”
“I see all of this work proving useful one day and helping concepts like Uber Air become reality sooner rather than later.”
The team launched a start-up, X-Aero, aided by RMIT Activator, with the aim of commercialising designs for the next generation of personal flying vehicles.
“Start-ups are really driving tech innovation, so it’s such an exciting time to be involved - we’re learning skills we will soon require for pursuing a career in aviation,” McCulloch said.
“Also, having something so wonderful to show for all your learning, at the end of the degree is a massive bonus.”
Story: Michael Quin
RMIT's aerospace and defence research will be on show at the Australian International Airshow, 26 Feb-3 Mar 2019. Come and see our latest innovations and industry collaborations.