Vertical flying saucer vehicle takes off as engineer’s dream comes true

Imagine hopping onto an upright flying saucer to go work or play, without dealing with road traffic.

That is the dream of Stephen Tibbitts, co-founder and chief executive of Zeva Aero, a Tacoma, Washington-based startup whose prototype vehicle recently had a successful full-scale vertical takeoff.

“It’s an octocopter,” Tibbitts said, pointing to the four motors on top and four at the bottom. “It’s a blended wing body and it generates lift as it’s flying forward.”

The battery-powered ZEVA Zero will next be tested for forward flight.

“The customers that we view right now are first responders, medics that need to get on to the scene of an accident to treat trauma victims as soon as possible,” said Tibbitts, an engineer and trained pilot.

The Pentagon has also expressed interest, the entrepreneur added. “And then we’ve been approached by a number of wealthy people that want to fly from their lake house to the city, and also off of their yachts.”

Zeva Aero aims to ultimately put a sustainable air vehicle in every garage. The likely price tag of around $250,000 excludes most commuters for now, but Gurbir Singh, Zeva Aero’s chief technology officer, is optimistic.

“As the battery technology continues to improve, this craft is only going to get better and be able to do more and more things as we go ahead,” he said.

(Writing by Richard Chang, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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