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This Wingless Air Bus Is Designed to Carry 40 People for Inter-City Flights

While most electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft concepts are designed to carry between two to four passengers, New York-based startup company Kelekona is aiming for 40, plus a pilot. You got that right, 40. Its ambitious goal is to make an air bus capable of flying from L.A. to San Francisco in just one hour.
Kelekona's desgin of a 40-seater eVTOL 6 photos
Rendering of Kelekona's new air bus designRendering of Kelekona's new air bus designRendering of Kelekona's new air bus designRendering of Kelekona's new air bus designRendering of Kelekona's new air bus design
The most room we got for an eVTOL was with german startup Lilium, which announced a few months ago its new seven-seater. But 40 is a whole different story. There’s a reason why the manufacturers don’t venture that far, and that is – the weight and size of the batteries. Our current technology can barely achieve an hour-long flight with just two passengers. The batteries are simply too heavy to allow many people on board.

Kelekona's new concept also proposes a payload capacity of 10,000 lbs (4,540 kg) of cargo, which is huge. The aircraft has a tear shape and eight thrust vectoring fans that would propel it pretty fast. To get from L.A. to San Francisco in one hour, it will need to go at least twice as fast as a conventional helicopter.

Judging from its design, it’s a wingless big aircraft. It looks more like a medium sized-jet in terms of proportions, thus the helipads would also need to be quite spacious for take-off and landing. Going from one city to another on a single charge would be nearly impossible. According to Kelekona, to overcome that issue, it will use swappable batteries.

Given its size, flying in a city filled with air taxis (which will happen sooner or later) would be challenging. For that, the eVTOL will be equipped with stereo cameras and radar sensors. These features combined would give it an extra 100 miles (162 km) of environmental awareness. Therefore it would be possible to detect and avoid other aircraft, uncharted buildings, or weather anomalies.

The company’s final goal is to create a versatile air bus that can not only carry 40 passengers for inter-city flights but also transport cargo, military equipment, soldiers, and even double as an air ambulance when needed. For now, it’s just a concept that we’ll yet have to see take flight.

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