Trek Aerospace is one of those laid back Silicon Valley companies people have likely seen an invention of in action, but didn’t know it was developed by them.
Trek is known in aerospace circles mostly for its shrouded propeller (“ducted fan”) technology, having developed and flown in 2001 the SoloTrek XFV, a single person VTOL aircraft.
Springing now from that beginning are aircraft designer Michael Moshier, and test-pilot Robert Bulaga in the development of the world’s first, fuel-electric hybrid air car.
Moshier and Bulaga are looking to form a new company around this flying car venture, according to an announcement from the two of them.
Using the same ducted-fan technology as the SoloTrek XFV, as well as new technological advances in materials & electronics, the hybrid air car is a multi-passenger design the two hope can become a reality.
A variety of scenarios are envisioned under which this vehicle might be used. In third world countries, for example, it could fulfill certain critical needs given its ability to to take off and land anywhere.
In more developed nations, it could provide what its designers say is a “unique solution to normal day-to-day and emergency transportation challenges resulting from metropolitan gridlock.”
Development is slated to be done in the U.S., say Moshier and Bulaga, but they are seeking financial backing to help get things off the ground.
The original SoloTrek XFV, supported in part by $5 million in funding from DARPA, along with collaborative design assistance and wind-tunnel testing facilities at NASA Ames, was a first pass at future personal transportation technology, and now this new design looks to be the next.