Workhorse Group Inc. , an American technology company focused on providing sustainable and cost-effective solutions to the electric transportation sector, announced it will unveil its SureFly™ helicopter concept at the Paris Air Show on June 19.
“The helicopter has been around for 78 years and is finally being reinvented,” said Stephen Burns, CEO of Workhorse. “We’re excited to unveil the SureFly on the world stage as we believe it represents a major step forward for the global aviation industry. We’ve designed SureFly by leveraging our expertise in battery-electric powered mobility, controls and gas generators to accelerate the speed to market in this sector.”
The goal of SureFly is to be safer and more stable than a typical helicopter due to its redundant design which includes four propeller arms, two fixed contra-rotating propellers on each arm, a backup battery to drive the electric motors in the event of engine failure and a ballistic parachute that safely brings down the craft if needed.
SureFly’s hybrid design leverages Workhorse’s platform battery packaging, management systems and controls utilized in its currently commercialized medium-duty, range-extended battery electric vehicles. It features a gas combustion engine generating electricity and a parallel battery pack offering a redundant backup power source, eliminates the need for long battery charging periods between flights. SureFly is designed to be easy to operate, and is expected to be capable of carrying two passengers up to 70 miles. After a quick refill, SureFly is ready for the next hop.
Early models will be pilot-operated. The goal is to introduce future models featuring autonomous flight capable of carrying payloads of up to 400 pounds. Anticipated markets for the SureFly are precision agriculture, emergency responders, city commuters and military.
Workhorse plans to begin test flights this year and intends to achieve Federal Aviation Administration certification in late 2019.