The original concept was drafted as a lookalike phone-booth based on the K8 design in the UK, something to 'teleport' us to our destination. It was therefore entered into the GoFly challenge originally as a stand-up compartment with a drone fixed at top and and bottom.
As this exceeded the allowed dimensions in the competition, a prototype was scaled down and the lower quad removed. It thus appeared at NASA Langley in the shape of a box for a seated passenger, like the 'sedan chair' of centuries past.
Subsequently, for the ongoing challenge the prototype was flight-tested with a compartment for a standing adult made of an open-topped box: more wheelie-bin than phone-booth.
Post pandemic however and with a potential kit-build market in the USA a renewed focus, current efforts aim at a model with a seating compartment suspended between two 'quads'. Within this development a lower drone is programmed for lift and an upper for direction, so as to emulate conventional helicopter controls.
Each drone will eventually be wholly independent for failsafe redundancy, whilst a modular methodology allows for either drone to be flown independently of the flight compartment. This containerised method allows a payload to be stretched to support a standing passenger, or shrunk to carry cargo.
Accordingly the prototype being prepared for flight-testing in the UK during the summer of 2021 is at half-scale, able to transport a child-sized dummy for flights of limited duration. This effort will be used for a crowd-funding campaign with a view to scaling the airframe to suit an adult.
Initially too a beta-product will be based on a flat-packed and kit-built iteration designed for ground-effect operation, with the lower props providing support alone in order to unload the upper, which will be tasked with steering.
This implementation is aimed at maximising 'time between failure' for both drones, by reducing the burden of demands required of each.