The Skai eVTOL (electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) vehicle can fly up to 4-hours, has a 400-mile range, and can seat up to five passengers. (Image credit: Skai press kit)

 

Alakai Technologies has recently announced the launch of Skai- a hydrogen-fueled eVTOL (electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) vehicle, which looks like a cross between a drone and an SUV. The technology will allow the aircraft to shuttle up to five passengers (or a 1,000-pound payload) for up to four hours, at a range of 400-miles before needing a refill.

 

Skai was co-designed by Designworks, the design studio for the BMW group, and according to President Holger Hampf, “Air mobility is a very exciting and fascinating topic. Our focus for this project was to help build a new consumer-facing brand from scratch - considering and designing all touchpoints - digital, physical, and service. And as a result, delivering an all-encompassing user-centric experience which is purposeful and highly desirable in all aspects.”

 

Skai is outfitted with several hydrogen fuel cells, has a top speed of 188mph, and has an in-frame parachute if all systems fail. (Image credit: Skai via press kit)

 

Alakai states that safety was a concern with the air taxi, incorporating redundant systems (including the fuel cells) for every critical component, even the rotors. Should one of those fail, the craft can still land safely. They tout that all of the vehicle’s weak points have been removed, and if everything fails, it has an in-frame parachute that deploys in case of an emergency.

 

Initial versions of Skai will be piloted, but the end-goal is full autonomy. The company still has a ways to go before the vehicle gets off the ground, so to speak, as governments have strict requirements when it comes to autonomous aircraft, but Alakai states they have initiated their test program for FAA certification, bringing them one step closer to their goal.

 

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