Technology has changed a lot in our lifetime but aeroplanes basically look the same, and getting to a major airport is time consuming, while waiting in a crowded airport lobby and going through all the checks is a frustrating experience.
Zuri’s founder and CEO Michal Illich says: “Imagine if you could take off from the edge of any city and quickly travel for hundreds of kilometres.
“Zuri was founded in 2017 when we began developing a new hybrid aircraft with a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capability, and today we present Zuri 2.0 as a hybrid aircraft with a unique configuration that positions four tilt rotors on the main wing and four more tilt rotors on the tail.
“These electric motors are controlled independently, and all flight critical systems have redundancy to ensure reliability and safety.”
Zuri’s large-scale technology demonstrator is how the company tests the critical system components and verifies software simulations in the real world, with the final aircraft fuelled by a hybrid power system to provide increased range.
The gas turbine uses biofuels, a generator and batteries, and does not need a new and expensive charging infrastructure at every landing spot, so it can recharge its batteries in flight.
The development of Zuri’s design technology is managed using Dassault’s state-of-the-art Catia computer aided design (CAD) software, while the interior will be constructed from sustainable materials, offering generous space and first-class comfort for up to four passengers and the pilot.
Illich adds: “According to our research, the best all-electric VTOL (eVTOL) aircraft have a total range of 250 kilometres but the legal flight rules require a reserve, so the actual usable range is only 100 kilometres.
“We believe Zuri’s advantage will be our hybrid drive technology and optimised aerodynamics, which aim to significantly increase the range to a maximum of 900 kilometres.”
With the mandatory reserve, Zuri claims the usable range is over 700 kilometres, or seven times farther than the best eVTOL aircraft.
According to a January 2019 Morgan Stanley study, this revolutionary air transportation market will be worth $350 billion in 2030.
Illich concludes: “The performance parameters of the motors and control systems, flight tests of a subscale model, the wind tunnel measurements and the data obtained from this demonstrator allow us to develop a new generation of VTOL aircraft.
“This is not merely a photoshopped model or a business plan in excel – we have already verified several generations of scaled models and now we are testing a large-scale demonstrator.”
In January, the company revealed the specifications for its Zuri 2.0 aircraft, which also includes a cargo model.
In November 2021, Zuri closed a successful round of funding worth €1.3 million.