START-UP SPOTLIGHT - BECCARII
The full scale concept is a 360kg, 3.37m long four-wheeled road vehicle capable of 120kph both on the ground and in the air through the use of four sets of contra-rotating propellers embedded in large diameter 46" hubless wheels.
Claimed range is 150km flight / 400km driving and power is provided by a 250BHP gas turbine powering an electric generator and drivetrain.
Currently have a functioning 1:10 scale prototype (see below). 1:2 scale prototype in development.
A quite unique concept said to have significant existing patent protection with some interesting applications from first responder to military reconnaissance and border enforcement. The hubless wheel design with integrated propellers is very innovative and potentially licensable IP in itself, if sufficiently protected. The combination of electric drivetrain with a gas turbine generator does yield some noise concerns for any potential future civilian applications but conversely also enables the vehicle to have a useful real world range and performance from even the first iteration vs an all-electric lithium ion solution. Contra-rotating props should offer a good level of in-flight redundancy and hence safety margin.
Given complexity of certification for civilian air operations we suspect most applicable in a military context first, and the CEO has some form here having participated in Southampton University's entry for the DARPA UAVforge challenge in 2012 and having spotted the company at a US Air Force event we suspect they're aware of and already targeting this avenue to aid accelerated development.
Some questions about high likelihood of 'foreign object' damage to unshielded propeller blades in an off-road / unprepared driving environment given that this is an issue in General Aviation and Commercial Aviation even when operating from prepared airfields where Foreign Object Detection (FOD) sweeps are a regular occurrence. Whilst many robust piston engine and turboprop aircraft are certified for use on eg. gravel strips or unprepared airfields, we do have some concern about the proximity of propellers to the ground when this vehicle is used aggressively in an all terrain environment.
The Beccarii concept itself seems to have evolved from this Kickstarter project of similar design which raised in excess of £122,366.