The Atlas is a recreational one-seater electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that could be one of the first air mobility vehicles on commercial market, possibly as soon as 2021. The personal air vehicle, in development by Watfly, was conceptually modeled after the “oversized backyard quadcopters” built by aviation enthusiasts, according to Watfly co-founder Gonzalo Espinoza Graham. “We very quickly realized that autonomous, vertical take-off and landing, electric aircraft would be the next available step, so we got to work.”
The Atlas will fit into a niche area of aerial mobility that not many other vehicles are designed for; Graham stated that the Atlas is designed for recreational purposes, aiming for the classification of an Ultralight Air Vehicle, meaning that it will not require a pilot’s license to fly. This does also mean that the Atlas will be restricted from flying over urban areas, including cities or towns, or through restricted airspaces. Watfly expects the Atlas to be certified by the FAA next year.
The vehicle itself is tiny compared to other air vehicles: it weighs in at 285 lb. unloaded with 250 lb. of carry weight, and has a height and wingspan of 8.2 ft. and 15 ft, respectively. Equipped with collision avoidance systems and an emergency parachute, the Atlas is the ideal vehicle for recreational air travel. As for the Atlas’ range, the vehicle can reach up to 125 mph and can fly for approximately one hour. Similar to a Tesla, the Atlas’ battery will be rechargeable at any port and can fully recharge in two hours.
The Atlas is expected to be available at a commercial price of $150,000 next year. To learn more about the Atlas, visit Watfly’s site here.
Why it’s important: The key importance of the Atlas is in its early expected availability. If released on schedule, the Atlas will be one of the first aerial mobility vehicles on the commercial market, albeit with limited applications. While the vehicle will be purely recreational and unable to travel over any urban areas, the relatively low price paired with the early release means that the Atlas will be one of the more easily accessible air mobility vehicles on the market.
Source // Robb Report