A company called Krossblade Aerospace Systems recently presented an interesting SkyCruiser concept, a hybrid 5-seat transformer airplane with some electric drive elements used both on the ground (to drive it like car for the last mile) and in the air (propellers).
It can take off like helicopter, fly like airplane and drive like a car. At least in the simulation it can.
There are a lot of folding parts, including propellers, wings, and even doors, which will not be easy to implement and achieve reliability with, but who knows what the future will bring to us.
Main motor/generator has power output of 360 hp and the 12 kWh battery pack supplies eight electric motors (four 80 hp and four 10 hp motors) or two 150 hp propulsor motors on the rear.
It seams that there are also two more in-wheel motors for driving on roads (two 75 hp).
The patent pending switchblade mechanism forms the basis of the transformation of SkyCruiser and SkyProwler. Airplanes need to fly fast and to fly fast you need to be as aerodynamically clean as possible. That's why airplanes are long and narrow, somewhat drop-shaped and with as few 'things' sticking out as possible.
For vertical take-off and landing on the other hand, you need to be the opposite of aerodynamic. The more things you have sticking out producing lift (think of the extreme of a parachute for example) the easier it is to hover. This is one of the main reasons that helicopters which a great at hover, are not very good at forward flight, being slow as well as needing a lot of fuel.
The switchblade mechanism transforms an aircraft from the aerodynamically clean airplane configuration to the VTOL configuration, which features a number of rotors that together have a large rotor disc area that is ideal for hovering at low power.
The switchblade mechanism is of similar technical complexity as a gear retraction mechanism and in itself adds very little weight to SkyCruiser and SkyProwler."
Length 8.4 m (27.5 ft) Height 1.3 m (cabin) / 1.8 m (road drive) / 2.3 m (tail surfaces extended) Width (hull) 1.5 m (4.9 ft) Wingspan (full extension) 9.5 m (31 ft) fully extended Wingarea 8.1 sqm (87 sqft) Seats 5 Empty Weight 1,055 kg (2,216 lb) Disc area (VTOL) 70 sqm (754 sqft) Electric power generation 400 hp combustion engine coupled to 360 hp generator Battery 12 kWh high discharge VTOL electric motors 4 x 80 hp electric motors (lift), 4 x 10 hp electric motors (lift + control) Propulsor electric motors 2 x 150 hp Cruise speed 505 kph (314 mph) Stall speed 160 kph (100 mph) fixed wing 145 kph (90 mph) fixed wing + small VTOL rotors Max take off weight 1,575 kg (3461 lb) Fuel capacity 250 l (66 g) Maximum payload 455 kg (1,003 lb) Payload at full fuel load 380 kg (838 lb) Fuel efficiency (cruise flight) 15.1 l/100 km (16 mpg) 3 l per passenger per 100 km (1.25 g per passenger per 100 miles) Range (Cruise flight) 1,620 km (1.006 miles) with 5 passengers Maximum road speed 112 kph (75mph) Road: 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) 7.5 s
On the video attached below Krossblade present also small scale drone prototype SkyProwler, which seems to takes off and lands vertically (VTOL) with easy and fly much faster then standard drones (up to 55 mph).
We believe that with some tweaks and further iterations it could be viable transportation device. And if you don't believe that such thing could fly just look on the internal combustion transformer airplane recently unveiled in Slovakia, Europe - the AeroMobil 3.0 prototype.